Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank Facsimile Edition

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The Theuerdank edition from the printing works of Hans Schönsperger in Augsburg, appointed by Maximilian himself as Imperial Court printer for life, is among the most significant works of German Renaissance art. The masterly woodcut illustrations of Hans Burgkmaier, Hans Leonhard Schäufelein, Leonhard Beck and a number of other artists, as well as the type font, specially designed for this purpose, justify the reputation of this imperial work as the “first bibliophile book of Germany”.

Maximilian I, also called the “last knight”

Maximilian I (1459–1519) was one of the most important sovereign rulers at the turning point from the Middle Ages to modern times. He is considered a personality who strived to uphold medieval traditions while attempting to create political and economic reforms as the basis for a comprehensive centralized order His predilection for luxurious court life, hunting and tournament games earned him the byname “the last knight”. His marked need for recognition and representation is reflected in the patronage of several relevant works of art and literature, giving us an authentic image of the Emperor’s life and personality.

Knight Theuerdank’s successful formal visit to his bride

This epic verse is one of the earliest German autobiographic romans à clef. It describes, in allegorical form, Maximilian’s first formal visit to Mary of Burgundy, the beautiful daughter of Charles the Bold. Numerous adventures and the struggle against mysterious adversaries form the contents of this captivating work. With the help of God as well as his knightly virtues the hero finally wins the beloved bride. In this epic Maximilian wished to convey a meaningful interpretation of his own life: For this reason each chapter narrates one aspect of the “last knight’s” imaginative world, especially Maximilian’s passions for hunting and tournaments are reflected in ever-new experiences.

We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank":

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