Written by: Andrew Lundeen
Primary Source: The Special Collections Provenance Project at MSU, November 24, 2015
The Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) is renowned for its fantastic woodcut illustrations.
A total of 1,809 illustrations adorn the book, but only 645 woodblocks were cut. Most of the illustrations are re-used throughout the book – some as many as 11 times!
Above are six instances of the same illustration, as seen in the copy owned by the MSU Libraries. The same image is used to depict the cities of Damascus, Mantua, Perusia, Verona, Serraria, and Sena.
Apparently, the accuracy of the illustration wasn’t very important!
I love the half-hearted attempts at hand-coloring some of these woodcuts. It reminds me of another early book from our collection, the 1532 Thurnier Buch.