Monday, April 19, 2010

Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta

I want this book so bad. I've wanted it for years and it just popped in my head again tonight, so I thought I'd look it up and see how much it was. You can click here and find out for yourself. I was like, "really?! That much for a book? I know it's amazing and all... but, really!?"

In 1561-62, Georg Bocskay, imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, inscribed the Mira calligraphiae monumenta as a testament to his preeminence among scribes. He assembled a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts, which nearly thirty years later were further embellished by Joris Hoefnagel, Europe's last great manuscript illuminator. This book, now in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, is reproduced here in complete facsimile form, accompanied by a commentary that includes a full description; a discussion of its patron, Rudolf II, and his cultural and historical milieu; the biographies of Hoefnagel and Bocskay; and an analysis of the manuscript's role in their careers. The introduction discusses the broader issues raised by the manuscript. Topics include Hoefnagel's nature imagery, which encompasses plants, fruits, and small animals, and its relation to the spread of interest in botany and zoology at the end of the sixteenth century. Another topic is calligraphy and its place in the art and culture of the sixteenth century. The manuscript's remarkable calligraphy will be of particular interest not only to scholars but to collectors, graphic designers, and typographers as well.

"This small book is a joy to hold and to behold, and should be of special interest to graphic designers, calligraphers, and other artists as well as to art historians. Recommended for all libraries."--Choice

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