Now back in print, “the ultimate booklover’s gift book”—Los Angeles Times
In 1561–62 the master calligrapher Georg Bocskay (died 1575), imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, created Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model Book of Calligraphy) as a demonstration of his own preeminence among scribes. Some thirty years later, Ferdinand’s grandson, the Emperor Rudolf II, commissioned Europe’s last great manuscript illuminator, Joris Hoefnagel (1542–1600), to embellish the work. The resulting book is at once a treasury of extraordinary beauty and a landmark in the cultural debate between word and image.
Bocskay assembled a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts for a work that summarized all that had been learned about writing to date—a testament to the universal power of the written word. Hoefnagel, desiring to prove the superiority of his art over Bocskay’s words, employed every resource of illusionism, color, and form to devise all manner of brilliant grotesques, from flowers, fruit, insects, and animals to monsters and masks.
Unavailable for nearly a decade, this gorgeous volume features over 180 color illustrations, as well as scholarly commentary and biographies of both artists, to inspire scholars, bibliophiles, graphic designers, typographers, and calligraphers.
Lee Hendrix retired in 2016 from her position as senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Her numerous books include Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II (Getty Publications, 1997) and The Art of the Pen: Calligraphy from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II (Getty Publications, 2003), both coauthored with Thea Vignau-Wilberg.
Thea Vignau-Wilberg is the retired curator of Netherlandish prints and drawings at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich. She is the author of the catalogue raisonné Joris and Jacob Hoefnagel: Art and Science around 1600, published in German and English in 2017.
“It’s back! Out of print for a decade, this gorgeously produced, slip-cased facsimile edition of an exquisite Renaissance manuscript unfurls a battle between brilliant advocates for the beauty of the written word (Hungarian scribe Georg Bocskay) and the painted image (Flemish illuminator Joris Hoefnagel). The small volume, with a bonus alphabet book tucked in at the end, is a sheer pleasure to hold in your hands.”
“Those who do not own the 1992 edition will find the book of interest, particularly as a resource for graphic design, calligraphy, and art history in general. . . . Summing Up: Recommended.”
~J. I. Miller
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