Johannes Gutenberg






The Göttingen Copy of the Gutenberg Bible

Page 5 of 5



One special feature of the Göttingen Bible is the fact that the illuminations are patterned on the samples contained in a mid-15th century Model Book.

Double page of the Göttingen Model Book. Fol. 2v-3r


This source on late medieval book illumination, thanks to favorable circumstances, is also part of the SUB Göttingen collection.

The Model Book describes how the colors are mixed, in what sequence they should be applied and what the finished pattern should look like. Comparative studies about the form of painting as well as microscopic analyses substantiate that the composition of the colors and the layering of the colors were carried out completely in accordance with instructions in the Model Book.

Thus in Göttingen, it is possible to retrace the steps involved in illuminating medieval manuscripts and incunabula.

You too can retrace these steps by

reading a transcription of the Model Book,

viewing a detail of the Model Book and the corresponding pendant in the Bible.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

The Model Book