Die Ottheinrich-Bibel (Cgm 8010)

Die Ottheinrich-Bibel (Cgm 8010)

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 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek 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 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek as a permanent loan.

The purchase would have been impossible without the considerable support by the Free State of Bavaria and a broad, highly committed funding coalition. The members of this coalition are the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Culture Foundation of the German Länder), the Bayerische Landesstiftung (Bavarian Land Foundation), the Oberfrankenstiftung (Upper Franconia Foundation), the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung (Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation), the Foundation Propter Homines, the Freiberger Foundation as well as the Archdiocese Munich and Freising, the Bibelhaus Erlebnismuseum Frankfurt (Bible House Experimental Museum) and private donors.

Exhibitions

The complete Ottheinrich bible was presented for the first time from 10 July to 10 August 2008 in an exhibition in the Schatzkammer (treasure chamber) of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Further exhibition dates of the Ottheinrich bible, before the manuscript will be given some necessary rest in the vault of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek:

28 February to 10 May 2009 Bibelhaus Erlebnismuseum Frankfurt am Main
21 September to 2 November 2009 German Historical Museum Berlin
April 2010 - Forschungsbibliothek Gotha
16 May - 27 June 2010 Bamberg State Library


High-quality digital copies were produced of all pages of the bible by the Faksimile Verlag Luzern, which already published a facsimile edition of the partial volumes 1 and 2 in 2002.

Faksimile Verlag Luzern, vol. 1 u. 2: Colour digital copies to follow shortly.

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