Dürer, Cranach, Altdorfer and Furtmeyr – Crowning finale of the exhibition trilogy BILDERWELTEN in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Titled "Aufbruch zu neuen Ufern" ("Off to new pastures"), the third and last instalment of the exhibition trilogy BILDERWELTEN in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek from 14 November 2016 to 24 February 2017 presents outstanding specimens of book illumination from between the Middle Ages and the modern era: One of the most precious works of book illumination, the prayer book of Emperor Maximilian I with drawings by Dürer, Cranach, Grien and Altdorfer. The book has been divided into two parts since the 16th century, both of which will be presented in the exhibition. Paying tribute to the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, the exhibition in the treasure vault presents selected Bibles from Charlemagne to Luther. The first printed book, the Gutenberg Bible of 1454/ 55, will be on display, like the famous Ottheinrich Bible or the Munich Furtmeyr Bible with its masterly illuminations of the Old Testament.

"New images for the new era" – the media change and its impact on book art forms the topical focus of the first treasure vault. Novel illustrations of contemporaneous and classical texts, works on geography, astronomy and medicine, are complemented by scientific and para-scientific handbooks.

Thanks to the high-carat loan by the Bibliothèque Municipale of Besançon, the two parts of the personal prayer book of Emperor Maximilian I created in 1513 can now be presented together again after over 60 years. The masterly quill drawings by Dürer, Cranach, Altdorfer and Burgkmair, which epitomise German Renaissance art, are so delicate and sensitive that conservators will turn the pages twice in the course of the exhibition, thus consecutively displaying six different double pages.

Further, the first atlas will be on display in which the continent newly discovered by Columbus was referred to as "America" for the first time: Martin Waldseemüller had produced the xylographs of the globe segments for printing the terrestrial globe in 1507. The exhibition will also for the first time feature the planet book crafted in the area of Lake Constance in the second half of the 15th century, including outstanding representations of the planets as personifications and signs of the zodiac.

Titled "The Bible from Charlemagne to Martin Luther", the second treasure vault will be fully dedicated to the book of books, the central work connecting the late Middle Ages with the incipient modern era. The earliest shown manuscripts are the Touronian Bible crafted in Tours between 830 and 843 and the giant Bible of King Henry IV of 1060/ 70. The Munich Furtmeyr Bible (1465 – 70), a luxury edition of the Old Testament, is one outstanding piece of medieval book illumination of the transition period from the handwritten to the printed book. The first book printed with mobile letters is the Gutenberg Bible produced in 1454/ 55 in Mainz. The exhibition shows the Munich specimen, one of the only 50 known preserved specimens printed on paper. The forthcoming 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is referenced by the Luther Bible, with portraits of Luther and Archbishop Sigismund of Brandenburg from Cranach's workshop, as well as handwritten annotations by Melanchthon.

Around 100 outstanding pieces of German book illumination of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance are shown in the tripartite cycle of exhibitions "Bilderwelten – Buchmalerei zwischen Mittelalter und Neuzeit" ("Pictorial Worlds – Illumination and book illustration between the Middle Ages and the modern era") of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek from 13 April 2016 to 24 February 2017. Like hardly any other medium, images – miniatures, drawings, xylographs – in manuscripts and books give an insight into the 15th and early 16th century, a time significantly influenced by changes and discoveries . Topically subdivided into three parts, the exhibition featuring high-carat exhibits from the library's own holdings offers a fascinating impression of the world of the period and its artistic diversity.

I Luxury Books from 13 April – 15 July 2016
II Ethereal and worldly 25 July – 6 November 2016
III Off to new pastures 14 November 2016 – 24 February 2017

Opening hours
Monday – Friday 10:00 – 17:00 | Thursday 10:00 – 20:00
and on all first Sundays of the month from 13:00 – 17:00

Admission free

Guided tours/ audio guide
Guided tours are available free of charge on Thursdays, at 16:30, and on the above-mentioned Sundays, at 14:00.
Meeting point: Schatzkammer of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (1st floor). No registration required. A German-language audio guide is available free of charge.

A richly illustrated catalogue of 255 pages, comprising all three exhibition parts, has been published by the Quaternio publishing house, Lucerne, thanks to the generous support by the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation. Price of the exhibition edition: € 29.80

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Schatzkammer and Fürstensaal, 1st floor
Ludwigstrasse 16, 80539 Munich
Underground lines U3/ U6, bus lines 150/ 153/ 154, station/ bus stop Universität; bus lines 100/ 153, bus stop Von-der-Tann-Strasse

Reproducible press images can be downloaded here:
Photo credits/ all rights: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Virtual exhibition (of all three exhibition parts)

Press release for download
Press release
  (PDF, 232 KB, in German)


Dr. Claudia Fabian
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Ludwigstrasse 16, 80539 Munich
Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2255

Peter Schnitzlein
Press and Public Relations
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2429