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The Gutenberg Bible: Early Modern Books

   This publication began the history of printing with movable type – the tremendous invention made by Johannes Gutenberg. The two-volume Latin Bible was printed on parchment and decorated by hand with multi-coloured borders and illustrations.
   Another important theme of the exhibition will be the formation of the actual appearance of the book, so familiar to us today. Through the example of unique manuscripts from the Hermitage collection, such as The Book of the Chase or richly illustrated Books of Hours, visitors will be able to see how the printed book, after initially following its manuscript forerunner in all respects, soon acquired a character of its own. It was in the era of early book-printing that new types of fonts were created and standardized, that the title page and page numbering appeared. A new black-and-white aesthetic for book illustration arose. Some major artists began to get involved in book illustration, with Albrecht Dürer among them. A separate section of the display is devoted to artwork within books. It contains some celebrated publications that owed their success precisely to the illustrations – Hartmann Schedel’s World Chronicle, the poetic tale Theuerdank commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I, and The Dream of Poliphilus published in Venice by Aldus Manutius. The early illustrated publications on show also include the celebrated Apocalypse series conceived by Dürer as a Großes Buch (large-format book). The extremely rare books on display in the exhibition make the viewer a witness to the birth of a new era.