Named after its owner, the French Cardinal Jules Mazarin: one of only 49 surviving copies of this cultural treasure of humanity

Mazarin Bible

Mazarin Bible

Mazarin Bible

  1. Cardinal Mazarin's copy of the two-volume Bible from the Mainz print shop of Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1400–68)

  2. The 42-line text was surrounded by individually-inserted tendrils and opulent initials in luminous colors

  3. Each specimen was left with blank spaces for initials and marginalia and were decorated individually

Biblia sacra Mazarinea

Mazarin Bible

“P” Initial

This blue acanthus leaf “P” initial from the commentary by Saint Jerome that proceeds the Book of Genesis incorporates a human face exhaling to the left. It is characterized by delicate pen strokes from the artist who was contacted by the purchaser of this manuscript. The initial and marginal décor are seamlessly incorporated into the printed text produced from Gutenberg’s workshop. Red and blue ink were chosen both for aesthetics and because they were among the most expensive colors.

Mazarin Bible

Alternative Titles:
  • Mazarin Bibel
  • Biblia sacra Mazarinea
  • La Bible de Gutenberg: ouvrage documentaire
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Imageof
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Mazarin Bible is one of 49 surviving Bibles that originated in the Mainz printshop of Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1400–1468) between 1452 and 1454. This two-volume book in folio contains the texts of the Old and New Testaments and comes from the library of Cardinal Mazarin (1605–1648) in Paris. The 42-line text was surrounded by gorgeous, individually-inserted tendrils of flowers and leaves and opulent initials in luminous colors marking various text passages. Gutenberg managed to revolutionize book production worldwide through the utilization of moveable type made from metal. His Bible is considered to be his primary work due to its high aesthetic and technical quality.

Mazarin Bible

Almost everyone knows it, the 42-lined Gutenberg Bible, which originated in Mainz between 1452 and 1454. The so-called Mazarin Bible comes from the library of Cardinal Mazarin (1605–1648) in Paris and is one of 49 surviving specimens worldwide of the Gutenberg Bible. With the help of a staff of around 20, Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1400–1468) could print 180 each of the two-volume Bible in folio, whereby the first part contains the Old Testament and the second primarily has the prophets of the Old Testament and the New Testament. A manuscript of the Parisian standard text of the Latin Vulgate, which is the 4th century translation by St. Jerome, served as the foundation of the text. Even though there are no full-page miniatures in the Bible, the decorative tendrils and initials of this important book of the incunable period make it a luminous masterpiece.

Gutenberg as a Revolutionary

When Johannes Gutenberg began to print with moveable metal type and the book press in 1450, he probably did not think that his innovations would substantially influence book printing and unleash a true media revolution. The new method of book production spread quickly through Europe and the entire world and is considered today to be a key element of the Renaissance. Thanks to its high aesthetic and technical quality, the Bible is famous today as Gutenberg’s primary work.

Filigree Illumination

None of the known Gutenberg Bibles is furnished with full-page miniatures and thus the Mazarin Bible does not contain any pictures on single pages that illustrate the text. Having said this, inventive drawings and wonderful initials were individually added by hand after printing, making each specimen unique. For the most part, this décor consists of splendid flowering tendrils that amply fill the free spaces around the field of text. Enchanting animals like the majestic peacock are added here and there to these romantically floral motifs, which still gleam today in bold colors.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Mazarin Bibel
Biblia sacra Mazarinea
La Bible de Gutenberg: ouvrage documentaire
Biblia sacra Mazarinea

Mazarin Bible

Beginning of Psalm 1, Beatus Vir

The Gutenberg Bible represents a hybrid work combining the new technology of the printed book with traditional illumination from manuscripts. Its type was meticulously arranged in the printing press to not only create the perfectly uniform columns of Latin text, some printed in red, but to also leave spaces for elaborate initials to be completed by hand.

The artist created various small initials in red and blue at the beginning of each sentence on this page, but the large “B” initial was created with a particular degree of detail. It is used to adorn the opening lines of the Book of Psalms: Beatus vir or “Blessed is the man”. Included among the details is a human dace depicted looking out from the spine of this embellished initial.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Mazarin Bible“

Biblia sacra Mazarinea
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Mazarin Bible – Inc. 1 – Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris, France)
Imageof

Biblia sacra Mazarinea

1 volume: This facsimile is not complete.
Publisher
Bibliotheca Rara – Münster, 2004
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
La Bible de Gutenberg - ouvrage documentaire
Imageof

La Bible de Gutenberg - ouvrage documentaire

1 volume: This facsimile is not complete.
Publisher
Les Incunables – Paris, 1985
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

Cranach's Bible

Cranach's Bible

Cranach’s Bible: translated by Martin Luther, magnificently illuminated by Lucas Cranach, and printed by Hans Lufft, the "Bible printer"

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher