Originally furnished with 1300 illustrations: the famous story of the love of a Saracen princess

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach

Germany — Around 1270

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach

Germany — Around 1270

  1. Wolfram von Eschenbach is counted among the most preeminent examples of medieval courtly poetry

  2. His romance is concerned with Willehalm, Margrave of Provence and Gybure, daughter of a Saracen king

  3. Three illustrations are arranged one below the other on each page, aiding the reader's comprehension

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach – Cgm 193, III|Hz 1104–1005 Capsula 1607 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) / Graphische Sammlung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums (Nuremberg, Germany)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Willehalm epic by the Staufian poet Wolfram von Eschenbach is counted among the most preeminent examples of courtly poetry of the High Middle Ages. In the so-called “great pictorial manuscript,” originating around 1270-75 and originally featuring 1,300 illustrations, “it was probably the most richly illuminated German manuscript of the Middle Ages,” the text is visualized by expressive images. The fragments of the manuscript, housed today in Munich and Nuremberg, give an inkling of the original splendor of the codex.

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach

The Willehalm epic by the Staufian poet Wolfram von Eschenbach is counted among the most preeminent examples of courtly poetry of the High Middle Ages. In the so-called “great pictorial manuscript,” originating around 1270-75 and originally featuring 1,300 illustrations, “it was probably the most richly illuminated German manuscript of the Middle Ages,” the text is visualized by expressive images. The fragments of the manuscript, housed today in Munich and Nuremberg, give an inkling of the original splendor of the codex.

A Fragment of Historical Value

The earliest illustrated codex about the knight Willehalm, which still exists in fragments today, originates from around 1270-75. This so-called “great pictorial manuscript” originally had 1,300 illustrations, making it “probably the most richly illuminated German manuscript of the Middle Ages.” The surviving fragments still speak to this brilliance today. The Bavarian State Library in Munich as well as the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg each possess a part of the fragments, eight in Munich and two in Nuremberg, respectively. The author of the epic was Wolfram von Eschenbach, the distinguished author of many Middle High German epics such as the Parzival, his most famous work, and the Minnelieder. Wolfram von Eschenbach composed the Willehalm in the years 1210-15, whereby he relied upon an unknown French source, which was owned by the Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia. It is concerned with the story of Willehalm, Margrave of Provence, and Arabel or rather Gybure, the daughter of a Saracen King.

Text and Imagery in Peaceful Symbiosis

The great pictorial manuscript, the earliest illustrated Willehalm codex, originated from the region of Quedlinburg or Halberstadt in the years 127—75. The focus is on the images, which take up the majority of the page. Every page of the text is furnished with text and a corresponding illustration, whereby the text is contained respectively in a thin bracket on the outer margin with the image in the middle. Three pictorial illustrations are arranged one below the other on each page. The pictorial scenes mostly consist of groups of figures, sometimes with a background of architectural structures or trees and shrubbery. Various persons strongly act out gestures thereby: courtly ladies, armored knights, and common folk. The illustrator made the scenes easier to understand through a subtle trick: the protagonist Willehelm is always denoted with a golden star above his figure or on his shield, in order to distinguish him from the others. The painter employed luminous colors for the coloration of his pen and ink drawings, mostly red, yellow, green, and blue. The fragments of the manuscript, despite their fragmentariness, allow for a clear understanding of the great Middle High German Willehalm epic and the illumination of the 13th century.

Codicology

Size / Format
20 pages / 32.0 x 25.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
Around 1270
Style
Gothic
Language
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach“

Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach
Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach – Cgm 193, III|Hz 1104–1005 Capsula 1607 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) / Graphische Sammlung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums (Nuremberg, Germany)
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Willehalm - Wolfram von Eschenbach

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Limited Edition
950 copies
Binding
Half leather
Commentary
1 volume (52 pages) by Ulrich Montag
Language: German
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: €
Edition available
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