Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquires manuscript of the Munich Renaissance artist Bartholomäus Reiter

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has recently acquired an album and armorial containing twelve rare gouache works of the Munich Renaissance painter Bartholomäus Reiter (1570 – 1622). Created between 1568 and 1621, the manuscript is the first testament to the master painter forming part of the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Apparently, it is also the first manuscript evidently created by his hand to be found worldwide.

In this album and armorial, Bartholomäus Reiter's work with its clear compositions and striking light-dark contrasts is as artistically sophisticated as in his printed graphic works. The richly illustrated manuscript contains twelve colourful, full-page gouache works, most of them signed by the artist, 75 handwritten entries and 52 coloured representations of coats of arms, most of which were presumably likewise created by Reiter. The miniatures designed with a delicate hand and in bright colours are additionally provided with filigree highlights in gold and silver. The gouache works address allegoric-mythical themes, such as Europe with the bull, the flaying of Marsyas, the rape of the Sabine women or Apollo and Daphne. The manuscript will bear the call number Cgm 9559.

Bartholomäus Reiter is associated with the Munich school of Renaissance artists around Hans Ostendorfer the Younger. He is known predominantly for his copper engravings on allegoric-mythical themes. Paintings and illuminated sheets of the Munich master painter are rather rare.

Dr. Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: "We are very pleased to include this unique manuscript by Bartholomäus Reiter in our collection. It is an outstanding work both historically and art-historically."


Cgm 9559 Lucretia
The death of Lucretia, set in a large hall: Mourned and wept over, Lucretia sinks down after ramming the dagger into her right bosom to escape the disgrace brought over her through the rape by the last Roman king Tarquinius Superbus. This preceding scene is shown on a smaller scale on the right.

Cgm 9559 Wappen
Entry in the family register with coat of arms of the Counts Truchsess vpn Waldburg, Heinrich and Froben

Picture credits for both illustrations: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich

Press release for download
Press release  (PDF, 90 KB)


Dr. Wolfgang-Valentin Ikas
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2265
Ludwigstr. 16
80539 Munich

Ulrike Rehusch
Press and Public Relations
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2057


About the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek:
Founded in 1558 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is an international research library of world renown. With more than 10.3 million volumes, around 59,000 current journals in electronic and printed form and almost 131,000 manuscripts, the library ranks among the world's most important centers of knowledge and heritage institutions. With more than 2.3 million digitized works, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the largest digital data stock of all German libraries. The library offers a broad range of services in the field of innovative digital use scenarios.