Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Ser. nov. 2759-2764

Wenceslas Bible Facsimile Edition

Used from

18,620

approx US$ 22,247


New from

€ 29,900


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The Wenceslas Bible is the first deluxe codex to be written in German no less than 150 years before the Martin Luther published its translation of the Bible in the vernacular. Commissioned by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia around 1390-1400, it was crafted in Prague and contains 646 opulent illuminations with often symbolical depictions and elaborate marginal decoration, . This Bible's extremely sumptuous and detailed depictions leave the reader and beholder almost speechless. Though the artists who worked on this masterpiece remained anonymous, it is sure that the King employed only the best craftsmen he could summon to decorate this work of art.

The Wenceslas Bible, the Archetype of German Illumination

Until recent times, the Wenceslas Bible had only been examined by historians, scholars somehow overlooking it as an excellent achievement in the field of book illumination. Though it does hold unprecedented and unquestionable artistic value, one must also remember that its nearly 2,400 pages are also the first testimony of a  pre-Reformation vernacular translation of the Bible. Three volumes had originally been planned (two books for the Old Testament,  one for the New): however, only the first two have managed to be produced. Around the 18th century the book was acquired by the Habsburg dynasty, and became one of the most cherished treasures of the Bohemian court. Nowadays, the six large manuscripts are preserved by the Austrian National Library.

Drolleries: the Fascinating World of the Middle Ages

Unlike many other books, the marginal decorations of the Wenceslas Bible are equally as important and beautiful as its main illuminations. The drolleries they contain display an unquestionable sense of humor. One example speaks for all: the girl clothed in a short garment with a sponge and a bucket, possibly a bathing maiden. Next to her is a male character, maybe King Wenceslas himself, is often flanked by the letters W and E. Moreover, one can find numerous allegorical 'creatures', such as the homeless man or the kingfisher, who populate all of the book's pages.

We have 9 facsimiles of the manuscript "Wenceslas Bible":

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#1 Die Wenzelsbibel (Complete Edition)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1981

  • Commentary (German) by Schmidt, G.; Heger, H.; Hlavácek, I.; Unterkircher, F.
  • Limited Edition: 780 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

Altogether 8 facsimile volumes, 1 volume with documents, and 2 commentary volumes.

Facsimile in a solid slip case.

Binding

Leather.

Used from

€ 18,620

approx US$ 22,247


New from

€ 29,900

approx US$ 35,725


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#2 Die Wenzelsbibel: Genesis und Exodus (Volume 1)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1981

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2759, ff. 1-98.

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#3 Die Wenzelsbibel: Leviticus und Numeri (Volume 2)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1982

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2759, ff. 98-174.

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#4 Die Wenzelsbibel: Deutoronomium und Josua (Volume 3)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1982

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2759, ff. 174-239.

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#5 Die Wenzelsbibel: Richter, Ruth und Samuel I (Volume 4)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1984

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2760, ff. 1-74.

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#6 Die Wenzelsbibel: Samuel II und Könige I (Volume 5)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1985

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2760, ff. 73-148.

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#7 Die Wenzelsbibel: Könige II und Chronik I (Volume 6)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1986

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2760, ff. 148-182 and Cod. Vindob. 2761, ff. 1-36.

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#8 Die Wenzelsbibel: Chronik II, Esra I und Esra II (Volume 7)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1987

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2761, ff. 32–112.

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#9 Die Wenzelsbibel: Esra III, Tobias und Prediger (Volume 8)

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1988

  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Wenceslas Bible: the facsimile doesn't attempt to replicate the format or the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces Cod. Vindob. 2761, ff. 112r-144v and Cod. Vindob. 2763, ff. 170r-206v.

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