LIBRARY SHELF: The Book of Miracles

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Borchert, Till-Holger and Joshua Waterman;
The Book of Miracles (2014)

DESCRIPTION: “The nearly complete surviving illustrated manuscript, which was created in the Swabian Imperial Free City of Augsburg around 1550, is composed of 169 pages with large-ICI-LIBbook_miracle_cvr-wformat illustrations in gouache and watercolor depicting wondrous and often eerie celestial phenomena, constellations, conflagrations, and floods as well as other catastrophes and occurrences. It deals with events ranging from the creation of the world and incidents drawn from the Old Testament, ancient tradition, and medieval chronicles to those that took place in the immediate present of the book’s author and, with the illustrations of the visionary Book of Revelation, even includes the future end of the world. The surprisingly modern-looking, sometimes hallucinatory illustrations and the cursory descriptions of the Book of Miracles strikingly convey a unique view of the concerns and anxieties of the 16th century, of apocalyptic thinking and eschatological expectation.”

ICI Shelf: Art Collections

First Line: “The lavishly illustrated Augsburg Book of Miraculous Signs (henceforth Book of Miracles), completed about 1522, recently discovered, and presented here in facsimile for the first time, gives spectacular expression to sixteenth century Europe’s ever-increasing concern for extraordinary signs sent from God.”

Last Line: “While it is true that the illustrations to the Eclipses luminarium are not directly dependent upon the Book of Miracles and its artists, they nevertheless make it clear that the illustrations in the present manuscript belong to a pictorial tradition about which our knowledge remains sketchy, and at the the same time seem to be establishing a new genre of scientific illustration.”

ICI History: APOCALYPSE rhizome on the Laboratory Blog (o7/2015)

Accession #: ICI-02999


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