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Ottheinrich Bible

The large-format splendid manuscript of the New Testament was crafted around or shortly after 1430, commissioned by Duke Louis VII of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. The complete German bible text was written at this time, the gaps left for the drawings containing instructions for the illuminator in Latin. However, the book decorations by three Regensburg masters or workshops were completed only on approximately one fifth of the 307 parchment sheets. The missing miniatures and initials were added in the years 1530 to 1532 by the artist Mathis Gerung from Lauingen, commissioned by Ottheinrich of Pfalz-Neuburg. The Ottheinrich Bible is the earliest surviving illustrated manuscript of a New Testament in the German language. In the course of the Thirty Years' War the Bible was twice taken as war loot, in 1622 from Heidelberg to Munich and in 1632 on to Weimar, from where it was taken to Gotha soon afterwards. During the second half of the 19th century the manuscript, which was temporarily also known as the 'Gotha bible', was divided into eight partial volumes. The Bavarian State Library acquired volumes 1, 2 and 7 in 1950; a facsimile edition of volumes 1 and 2 was published in 2002. The remaining five volumes were acquired in 2007 with the kind support of the Ducal House of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha from the collections of the Foundation for Art and Science of the Duke of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha. The Universitäts- und Forschungsbibliothek Erfurt/ Gotha has left the book cover to the Bavarian State Library as a permanent loan.