Late Medieval Illustrated Manuscripts from the Bibliotheca Palatina – digitized
A Cooperation-Project of Heidelberg University Library and the Institut für Europäische Kunstgeschichte of Heidelberg University – supported by DFG
Heidelberg University Library holds among others 27 late medieval illustrated manuscripts originating from three of the most popular 15th-century german workshops. Among these seven codices are ascribed to the so-called "Elsässische Werkstatt von 1418", the "workshop of Diebold Lauber" at Hagenau is represented by eleven, and the "workshop of Ludwig Henfflin", which probably worked at Stuttgart, by nine manuscripts. All these workshops were commercial enterprises working with a variable number of scribes and illuminators at the request of patrons as well as offering their manuscripts on the market. It is characteristic for these manuscripts that most of them were written in German. More precisely: They were written in the dialect of the particular scribe or - if requested - in the dialect of the patron. Furthermore they were written in a well readable script (Bastarda) on paper folios, which was cheaper than the formerly used parchment.
Regarding the contents the manuscripts cover almost the whole formal spectrum of medieval literature. Religious and devotional works, chronicles, medieval callendars, epic literature, works on natural history and even legal literature was copied by these workshops. The clients of the workshops were clergymen as well as noble dukes, the higher and lower nobility, but also the prosperous higher middle classes.
The illustrated manuscripts came to Heidelberg University Library via Bibliotheca Palatina, the famous Library of the palatine duke electors. They represent a cherished speciality of Heidelberg: No other library features manuscripts of these workshops in such a quantity. Over and above their art historical significance they are, therefore, especially suited to represent Heidelberg University Library.
The project supported by DFG involves not only the digitization of the 27 manuscripts, but also the cataloging of the art historical aspects, for example the themes and motifs of the illustrations. It is carried out in cooperation with the Institute for Art History of Heidelberg University. Special knowledge is supported by Prof. Dr. L. E. Saurma.
Digitization of the 27 manuscripts is carried out by the "Abteilung Sondersammlungen" at the University Library of Graz.
Virtual images and informations are available via the websites of the University Library Heidelberg as well as via the Manuscript database Manuscripta Mediaevalia.