Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta - A Sixteenth-Century Calligraphic Manuscript Inscribed by Georg Bocskay and Illuminated by Joris Joefnagel Lee Hendrix, Thea Vignau-wilberg

Getty Publications -
Publication date:
18 Sep 2020
Getty Publications
424 pages: 196 x 138 x 42mm

Now back in print, "the ultimate book-lover's gift book" (Los Angeles Times) In 1561-62 the master calligrapher Georg Bocskay (died 1575), imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, created Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model Book of Calligraphy) as a demonstration of his own preeminence among scribes. Some thirty years later, Ferdinand's grandson, the Emperor Rudolf II, commissioned Europe's last great manuscript illuminator, Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), to embellish the work. The resulting book is at once a treasury of extraordinary beauty and a landmark in the cultural debate between word and image. Bocskay assembled a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts for a work that summarized all that had been learned about writing to date-a testament to the universal power of the written word. Hoefnagel, desiring to prove the superiority of his art over Bocskay's words, employed every resource of illusionism, color, and form to devise all manner of brilliant grotesques, from flowers, fruit, insects, and animals to monsters and masks.

Lee Hendrix retired in 2016 from her position as senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Her numerous books include Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II (Getty Publications, 1997) and The Art of the Pen: Calligraphy from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II (Getty Publications, 2003), both coauthored with Thea Vignau-Wilberg. Thea Vignau-Wilberg is the retired curator of Netherlandish prints and drawings at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich. She is the author of the catalogue raisonne Joris and Jacob Hoefnagel: Art and Science around 1600, published in German and English in 2017.