Hartmann Schedel was a German humanist who used to call himself bibliophagous, meaning a book eater, because of his great passion for books. A main figure of the German Humanism, Hartmann Schedel was a doctor of versatile intelligence, with an extraordinary memory and knowledge. Avid collector of varied objects, he transformed his house in a museum where intellectuals of the time gathered. He wrote the Nuremberg Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum) in Latin.
The Nuremberg Chronicle is an illustrated biblical paraphrase and a world history which includes the account of the origins of important Western cities. This exemplar of the Liber Chronicarum is kept in the Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Vid and it was printed in 1493 in Nuremberg.
A Rich Graphic Collection Narrates the Story of the World
Two merchants from Nuremberg, Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, commissioned the Latin version of the Chronicle. They also commissioned a scribe at the Nuremberg treasury to translate Schedel's text in German.
The Liber Chronicarum is an outstanding typographic project because of the vast xylographic work involved. The printed book counts more than 1800 xylographs made in the workshop of Michael Wolgemut, Albrecht Dürer's master.
At the time of the liber Chronicarum, Dürer was still young. It is not certain whether he directly worked on the Chronicle; however, it was in this workshop that Dürer learned the art of engraving and will soon became a prominent figure of that art.
The Excellent Typographic Printing of Anton Koberger
The Liber Chronicarum was published at the end of the year 1493 and represents an excellent example of typographic printing. The printer and typographer Anton Koberger printed the Chronicle kept in Spain. The layout of the pages is harmonious and elegant, balancing different types, special signs, ligatures, and abbreviations.
Anton Koberger was a manager, merchant, and editor. Although his training is not completely known, he undoubtedly became one of the leader printer of that time. He was an influential figure for Dürer. He later printed his famous Apocalypses, the highest examples of the xylographic German printing of the fifteenth century.