Vorau Picture Bible

Vorau Picture Bible Facsimile Edition

South Germany — 1467

Created long before Luther and adorned with over 550 expressive miniatures: the stories of the Bible and world history united in a large Bible Historiale in German vernacular from 1467

  1. A German vernacular Bible from long before Luther's translation of the Bible

  2. The four-volume work boasts 559 miniatures rendered skillfully in innovatively expressive watercolors

  3. The figures of this popular Bible already have individual characteristics that were still lacking in contemporary "high art"

Vorau Picture Bible

Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (6)
Description
Vorau Picture Bible

The late medieval development of the picture Bible enjoyed a great deal of freedom in the face of the diverse origins of its sources. They combine biblical narratives with profane history and freely fill the gaps with apocryphal writings, legends, and secular historical works. The result is a universal history from Creation to the Last Judgment, which served many generations as the only work of history they had. The Vorau Picture Bible is the most beautiful German picture Bible: written in a Bavarian-Austrian dialect with an easily readable bastarda, it even records the day of its completion: the 31st of October 1467. Above all, however, it captivates with a total of 559 colorful miniatures, which served the medieval reader as a summary and illustration of the texts. Today they provide an invaluable, vivid insight for the costume and material culture studies of those days.

Vorau Picture Bible

The end of the Middle ages was marked by great spiritual, social, and economic upheavals. These are also reflected in the manuscripts of that time, which can be regarded as outstanding documents of this cultural development. This was especially true of the Bible Historiale, a synthesis of biblical and secular history. Biblical stories were developed through them by secular-historic and philosophical digressions to a type of medieval universal-history that stretches from Creation to the present. Historical gaps in the biblical events were closed with legends and terrestrial history-works. Written in the language of the people, the Bible Historiale filled the demand by offering religious-educational edification on the one hand and also served to widen the knowledge of the population through an accessible history book.

559 outstanding miniatures

Among the approximately 100 German-language Bible Historiale, the Vorauer People's Bible occupies the highest position in an artistic sense. Altogether 559 miniatures accompany the text written in a Bavarian-Austrian dialect. These incredible miniatures are spread across 4 volumes:
1. The New Testament
2. The Old Testament I
3. The Old Testament II
4. The Old Testament III

The Most Beautiful German Picture Bible

The artists colored the skillfully executed quill pen drawings in shining watercolors with their own expressionistic tendencies. The figures are expressed with an inner and outer emotionality indicating an attempt at characterization and individualization -- style-characteristics that were noticeably absent from the "High Art" of the time. Originally, the miniatures were primarily used to interpret the texts and to illustrate the manuscript, but they also fill another function for the present day observer: they document medieval life in a most diverse way. Throughout the illustrations, the Vorauer People's Bible turns into a virtually inexhaustible source for the costumes and decorations of the time. The text of the Vorauer Peoples Bible was executed very carefully in Austrian bastarda and as such is easily legible. The text was written in red while the initials are in red and blue.

Provenance

The Vorauer People's Bible can be exactly dated to its time of completion. Folio 447v contains details of the dates by the scribe: "Also hat ein endt dy wibel dy alt ee vnd ein tail der newen ee vnd ist geendt waren in vigilia omnium sanctorum anno domini M °CCCC °67". The day of the completion was therefore the31st of October 1467. The name of the scribe is not mentioned. With all likelihood, it was someone well informed in religious matters, probably a minister from the region of southern Germany. The manner in which the manuscript came to the library of Vorau has not yet been determined. Its first mention there is in the year 1733 and since that time has been regarded as its major treasure.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Vorauer Volksbibel
Size / Format
920 pages / 40.5 × 28.5 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1467
Style
Language
Illustrations
559 colored pen and ink drawings and countless cadels and initial majuscules

Available facsimile editions:
Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 2003
Limited Edition: 50 copies

Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1989–1993
Limited Edition: 480 copies

Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1989
Limited Edition: 480 copies

Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1990
Limited Edition: 480 copies

Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1991
Limited Edition: 480 copies

Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1993
Limited Edition: 480 copies
Detail Picture

Vorau Picture Bible

Adam in the Garden of Eden

As a joyful God reigns overhead in the clouds, Adam is shown walking through the Garden of Eden in a blissful state of nude ignorance and presumably naming the animals that surround him. This miniature shows the period directly preceding the creation of Eve and depicts Paradise as a walled garden. The enclosed garden or hortus conclusus as a metaphor for paradise goes back to ancient Persia and symbolizes the Immaculate Conception as well as having numerous other allegorical connotations.

Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Special Edition in 1 Volume)
Single Page

Vorau Picture Bible

Cain and Abel

In the Book of Genesis, Cain famously slays his brother Abel after God rejects his offering in favor of his brother’s, and then lies about it, earning him the curse and mark of Cain. Aside from being the first two children of Adam and Eve, the brothers possess tremendous symbolic value, representing everything from the birth of evil to the rise of agriculture.

The miniatures are inserted in line with the two-column German text. On the left, the brothers present their burnt offerings at the altar, Abel the shepherd presents the choicest lamb of his flock while Cain merely offers a bushel of grain. The following scene shows Abel lying on the ground, head already bleeding from a wound, as Cain raises the hoe to strike again.

Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Special Edition in 1 Volume)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Special Edition in 1 Volume)

Limited Edition: 50 copies
Binding: Leather with blind stamping exactly like the cover of the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (142 pages) by Ferdinand Hutz
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) The facsimile corresponds to the original down to the smallest detail. The photographs necessary for the realization of an exact replica were taken at the library in Vorau. The most modern laser scanner technology made possible the control of all individual color values in each phase of the production process. Each facsimile sheet was subject to a multi-stage original comparison during the production to ensure that the colours matched the original precisely. The printing of the facsimile is on a paper that corresponds to the original paper of the manuscript not only in surface structure and strength, but also through its complete freedom from acid. The leather cover with blind stamping corresponds to the cover of the original.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!

#2 Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Full set of 4 volumes)

Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Vorau Picture Bible – Codex 273 – Monastery Library Vorau (Vorau, Austria) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1989–1993
Limited Edition: 480 copies
Binding: Leather (true copy of the original binding). All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (142 pages) by Ferdinand Hutz
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) The facsimile corresponds to the original down to the smallest detail. The photographs necessary for the realization of an exact replica were taken at the library in Vorau. The most modern laser scanner technology made possible the control of all individual color values in each phase of the production process. Each facsimile sheet was subject to a multi-stage original comparison during the production to ensure that the colours matched the original precisely. The printing of the facsimile is on a paper that corresponds to the original paper of the manuscript not only in surface structure and strength, but also through its complete freedom from acid. The leather cover with blind stamping corresponds to the cover of the original. The edition includes 4 volumes: 1. The New Testament 2. The Old Testament I 3. The Old Testament II 4. The Old Testament III 1. The New Testament: Facsimile: Graz 1989. 206 pp. (fol. 355v–458v) with 120 coloured pen-and-ink drawings and 3 historicized initials. Commentary: F. Hutz, Vorau. 34 pp., 435 x 300 mm, hard cover. 2. The Old Testament I: Facsimile: Graz 1990. 246 pp. (fol. 1r–123r) with coloured pen-and-ink drawings throughout and initials. Commentary: F. Hutz, Vorau. 36 pp., 435 x 300 mm, hard cover. 3. The Old Testament II: Facsimile: Graz 1991. 220 pp. (fol. 123r–232r). Commentary: F. Hutz, Vorau. 36 pp., 435 x 300 mm, hard cover. 4. The Old Testament III: Facsimile: Graz 1993. 248 pp. (fol. 232r–355v). Commentary: F. Hutz, Vorau. 36 pp., 435 x 300 mm, hard cover.

#3 Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Volume 1)

Limited Edition: 480 copies
Binding: Leather (true copy of the original binding). All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (34 pages) by Ferdinand Hutz
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Only 1 volume of 4 volumes. Content: The New Testament with two prologues.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!

#4 Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Volume 2)

Limited Edition: 480 copies
Binding: Leather (true copy of the original binding). All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (36 pages) by Ferdinand Hutz
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Only 1 volume of 4 volumes. Content: The Old Testament, Part I.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!

#5 Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Volume 3)

Limited Edition: 480 copies
Binding: Leather (true copy of the original binding). All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (36 pages) by Ferdinand Hutz
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Only 1 volume of 4 volumes. Content: The Old Testament, Part II.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!

#6 Die Vorauer Volksbibel (Volume 4)

Limited Edition: 480 copies
Binding: Leather (true copy of the original binding). All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (36 pages) by Ferdinand Hutz
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Only 1 volume of 4 volumes. Content: The Old Testament, Part III.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
You might also be interested in:
Book of The World – The Saxon World Chronicle Facsimile Edition
Book of The World – The Saxon World Chronicle
Braunschweig or Lüneburg (Germany) – 1270/1279

A richly illustrated history of mankind from Creation to the Middle Ages: the first German-language world chronicle in prose is adorned with over 500 wonderful miniatures

Experience More
Millstatt Genesis and Physiologus Facsimile Edition
Millstatt Genesis and Physiologus
Austria – 12th century

Genesis, Exodus, sermons, and a bestiary: the earliest example of an almost entirely illustrated German-language manuscript

Experience More
Tschachtlan's Illustrated Chronicle Facsimile Edition
Tschachtlan's Illustrated Chronicle
Bern (Switzerland) – 1470

Richly illuminated by the Bernese councilor Benedict Tschachtlan himself: Switzerland's oldest surviving chronicle and the first city chronicle in the German language

Experience More
Biblia Pauperum Apocalypsis: The Weimar Manuscript Facsimile Edition
Biblia Pauperum Apocalypsis: The Weimar Manuscript
Erfurt (Germany) – 1340–1350

Created in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and Paul in Erfurt: large-format, impressive, massive, and yet refined miniatures of the famous Book of Revelation

Experience More
Martin Luther’s September Bible from 1522 Facsimile Edition
Martin Luther’s September Bible from 1522
Germany – 1522

A special piece of Reformation history: the first edition of Luther's famous Bible translation with illustrations by Lucas Cranach and commentaries by Johann Gramann

Experience More
Cologne Bible 1478/1479 Facsimile Edition
Cologne Bible 1478/1479
Cologne (Germany) – 1478/1479

Formative for the epoch-defining pictorial power of later works by Cranach, Dürer, and Koberger: the first printed Bible in Low German with 123 magnificent woodcuts

Experience More
Filter selection
Publisher