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Book/Printed Material Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae.

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  • Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae.


  • Hind notes that 34 oblong images that appear in this edition are printed from metal cuts which feature crisp, structured lines printed in black ink. The cuts are adapted from the woodcuts in the Rome edition of Ulrich Han, printed in 1467. The metal cuts are considerably reduced in size and printed in black line while the borders which frame the composition are printed white on black. (Hind, 194). The illustrations are hand colored in red, green, blue, brown and yellow. Although the binding is contemporary rose colored doeskin, there is question about when the images were colored. The initial on leaf 2a is supplied in red, blue and green; the other initials are red and blue alternately while the initial-strokes are red. Apparently, the metal cuts were reused by a printer in Albi in 1481.
  • Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae (Meditations, or the contemplations of the most devout) by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada (1388-1468) is thought to be the first Italian book illustrated with a series of woodcut images. The first edition was printed in Rome in 1467 by the German printer Ulrich Han. Presented here is a 1479 edition, printed in Mainz by Johann Neumeister (circa 1440-circa 1512), a German cleric and printer who claimed to have been a student of Johann Gutenberg. The designs of the 33 woodcuts, although considered rough by some early critics, are distinguished by their spaciousness, clarity, and economy of line, all important characteristics of the Italian woodcut before 1490. The woodcuts of "Adam and Eve in the Garden" and "The Annunciation" are simply constructed, gracefully executed, and eminently accessible to the viewer. The sensuousness in the lines that define Adam's torso and the fine turn of Eve's ankle suggest a developed sense of artistic possibility. This emphasis on the physical form demonstrates a new artistic awareness that was developing in Italian woodcut design during the early Renaissance. Torquemada was a Spanish Dominican, the author of devotional works, and an advisor to several popes. He was the uncle of Tomás de Torquemada (1420-98), the first grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. World Digital Library.


  • Torquemada, Juan de, 1388-1468.
  • De Morstat, Marcus Bartolomei, Fr., inscriber.
  • Neumeister, Johann, active 1470-1495, printer.
  • Hofbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany), former owner.
  • Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection (Library of Congress)
  • Priesterseminar Mergentheim, former owner.

Created / Published

  • [Mainz] Johann Neumeister, 3 Sept. 1479.


  • -  Meditations--Early works to 1800
  • -  Germany--Rhineland-Palatinate--Mainz


  • Incunabula--Germany--Rhineland-Palatinate--Mainz--1479


  • -  LC copy: initial on leaf [2a] supplied in red, blue, and green, other initials in red and blue alternately, initial strokes in red; illus. hand-colored. Original blind-stamped red leather over boards, clasps. Inscription below colophon: Fr. Marcus Bartolomei de Morstat, Ordinis Theotoni[cor]um; on leaf [2a]: Biblioth. Semin. Mergethem.; stamp of K. Landesbibliothek Stuttgart.
  • -  Signatures: [a-f⁸ g²].
  • -  Catalogue of books printed in the XVth century now in the British Museum, I, p. 43 (IB.324)
  • -  Copinger, W.A. Supplement to Hain's Repertorium bibliographicum, 15726
  • -  Goff, F.R. Incunabula in American libraries, T-539
  • -  Library of Congress. Lessing J. Rosenwald collection, 73
  • -  Schramm, XIV, p. 3, [9], and illus.
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.


  • [50] leaves (the first and last blank). metal cuts: illus. 30.3 cm. (fol.)

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Incun. 1479 .T6

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 49036009

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Torquemada, Juan De, Marcus Bartolomei De Morstat, Johann Neumeister, Former Owner Hofbibliothek, Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, and Former Owner Priesterseminar Mergentheim. Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae. [Mainz Johann Neumeister, 3 Sept, 1479] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Torquemada, J. D., De Morstat, M. B., Neumeister, J., Hofbibliothek, F. O., Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection & Priesterseminar Mergentheim, F. O. (1479) Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae. [Mainz Johann Neumeister, 3 Sept] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Torquemada, Juan De, et al. Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae. [Mainz Johann Neumeister, 3 Sept, 1479] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.