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Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta: A Sixteenth-Century Calligraphic Manuscript Inscribed by Georg Bocskay and Illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel, Second Edition


Available Early October 2020

Lee Hendrix and Thea Vignau-Wilberg

Now back in print, “the ultimate booklover’s gift book” —Los Angeles Times

In 1561–62 the master calligrapher Georg Bocskay (died 1575), imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, created Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model Book of Calligraphy) as a demonstration of his own preeminence among scribes. Some thirty years later, Ferdinand’s grandson, the Emperor Rudolf II, commissioned Europe’s last great manuscript illuminator, Joris Hoefnagel (1542–1600), to embellish the work. The resulting book is at once a treasury of extraordinary beauty and a landmark in the cultural debate between word and image.
Bocskay assembled a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts for a work that summarized all that had been learned about writing to date—a testament to the universal power of the written word. Hoefnagel, desiring to prove the superiority of his art over Bocskay’s words, employed every resource of illusionism, color, and form to devise all manner of brilliant grotesques, from flowers, fruit, insects, and animals to monsters and masks.
Unavailable for nearly a decade, this gorgeous volume features over 180 color illustrations, as well as scholarly commentary and biographies of both artists, to inspire scholars, bibliophiles, graphic designers, typographers, and calligraphers.

Lee Hendrix retired in 2016 from her position as senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Her numerous books include Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II (Getty Publications, 1997) and The Art of the Pen: Calligraphy from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II (Getty Publications, 2003), both coauthored with Thea Vignau-Wilberg. Thea Vignau-Wilberg is the retired curator of Netherlandish prints and drawings at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich. She is the author of the catalogue raisonné Joris and Jacob Hoefnagel: Art and Science around 1600, published in German and English in 2017.

424 pages
5 x 7 inches
183 color and 3 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-658-4
hardcover, with slipcase

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum