The Hildesheim Golden Calendar

German illumination between Romanesque and Gothic art

The impressive early Gothic deluxe manuscript produced at the height of the Saxon book illumination tradition, comprises nine pages of considerable size: a complete calendar with rich architectural decoration and elaborately designed zodiac signs as well as two magnificently painted pages showing five scenes from the Life of Christ: the Annunciation, Nativity, Crucifixion, Ascension and Maiestas Domini. The individual miniatures of these fragments are executed as expressive colour paintings with luminous golden grounds. The extraordinary Calendar mirrors the harmonious fusion of a changing conception of the arts with a lively, exciting means of expression.

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The Zackenstil

The Golden Calendar of Hildesheim is an excellent example of the so-called Zackenstil, or jagged style. This independent style of the 13th century combines two art forms, the emotionally oriented art of Byzantium and the early Gothic art of the West, with its vivid, sometimes even dramatic expressiveness. Characteristic features of the Zackenstil are sharp-edged, excellently coloured drapery folds, to which the style owes its name, and extensive golden grounds.

 

The Scriptorium

The manuscript was produced towards the middle of the 13th century in the well-known scriptorium of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Michael’s in Hildesheim, originally founded by Bishop Bernward (active 993–1022, canonized 1192). The Abbey has been included since 1985 in UNCESCO’s world heritage list, together with Hildesheim Cathedral. The manuscritpt was produced for the noble Abbey of St. Servatius at Quedlinburg.

 

A novelty in the history of facsimile reproduction

The facsimile edition of the Hildesheim Golden Calendar adds a novelty to the tradition of facsimile production: for the very first time, the silk curtains added to the original manuscript for protection of the individual pages have been reproduced in the facsimile edition.

 

Faithful facsimile edition of the manuscript Cod. Guelf. 13 Aug. 2° in the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, made around 1250 in Hildesheim.

16 pages. Format: 22.5×30.9 cm. Limited to 980 numbered copies worldwide. Lightbrown leather binding with blind tooling. 76-page academic commentary volume by Harald Wolter-von dem Knesebeck, Helmar Härtel and Werner Hohl.

Both volumes in a textile case.

With gold tooling.

Dimensions 22 × 30 cm

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