Book of Hours illuminated by Simon Bening, c. 1530-35

Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, especially those with illuminated miniatures, are unique testimonies to human history. They form a fundamental part of the heritage shaping our world since late Antiquity. Collecting manuscripts is a fascinating, gratifying experience and an elegant way to connect with life, thought and the magnificent art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Here we present and offer books that preserve the finest painting and literature of the period within their pages.

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Pope and Saints, miniature on vellum, Italy, Florence, c. 1310-15

The hand-painted illustrations of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are cherished collector’s items. Since the 19th century, art lovers have bought illuminated leaves and miniatures and mounted them into albums or frames. The concentration on medieval imagery awakened an interest in ‘the monuments of the art of illumination’. Valued for their beauty, our miniatures were physically and conceptually transformed in the past to encourage today’s direct aesthetic contemplation.

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Melusine, Heidelberg: Knoblochtzer, c. 1491

The first printed books, from c. 1450-1500, are called incunabula or incunables. These remarkable first examples of the art of printing from movable type are the pride of every bibliophile and every antiquarian bookseller. In addition to their significance in revolutionizing the written word and its dissemination, incunables often also contain woodcut illustration, sometimes coloured by hand. In the 16th century, the techniques of printing, typography and woodcutting were brought to perfection.

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Sankt Gallen, exhibition, October 2013

News

This December we will once again be opening our doors for a Christmas exhibition. In the last months we have acquired several new discoveries – magnificent illuminated manuscripts and illustrated early printed books – that we look forward to sharing with you. Please visit us at our gallery in the picturesque 'Altstadt' of Basel and experience our newest treasures of book art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Dr. Jörn Günther Antiquariat
Spalenberg 55, Basel
8–12 December 2014, 10am–5pm
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