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About this Item


  • Ars moriendi.


  • Ars moriendi, or The Art of Dying is an important genre of book which reveals the medieval Church rituals surrounding the last rites of a dying Christian. The earliest known printing of the Ars moriendi is a block book edition produced in the southern Netherlands around 1450, though this date is still under debate by historians of the subject. By 1500, over eighty printed editions were produced from presses in Germany, France, Italy, the Low Countries, Spain and Great Britain. Hind wrote that its popularity probably comes from the fact that its was intended as a guide to clergy in giving comfort and counsel to the dying. It is composed of ten scenes organized in pairs depicting the countervailing forces of grace and temptation, faith and despair, and good over evil. This copy contains the bookplate of A. A. Renouard.
  • Printed in black ink. Bound into this copy is a leaf from Biblia Pauperum and two additional woodcuts from a later edition of an Ars Memorandi was designed as an aid for semi-literate clergy in remembering the lessons of the Gospels by meands of symbols. Block books were printed from carved wood blocks, incorporating both images and text on only one side of paper.


  • Renouard, Ant. Aug. (Antoine Augustin), 1765-1853, former owner.
  • Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • [Germany, 1466]


  • -  Death--Early works to 1800
  • -  Block books--Specimens
  • -  [Germany]


  • Incunabula--Germany--1466


  • -  Block book.
  • -  Printed in black ink on one side of leaves only, so that pairs of printed and blank pages alternately face each other.
  • -  Schreiber, W.L. Handbuch der Holz- und Metallschnitte des XV. Jahrhunderts (3. Aufl.), IV, p. 261, 267-312 (ed. IV A)
  • -  Catalogue of books printed in the XVth century now in the British Museum, I, p. 4 (IB.23) (leaves printed on both sides)
  • -  Library of Congress. Lessing J. Rosenwald collection, 20
  • -  LC copy has inserted: leaf 18 (sig. s) of the Biblia pauperum, Nördlingen, 1470 (block book with German text; cf. Schreiber, IV, p. 93, 98, col. 1) and 2 late impressions from early wood blocks (one being a copy of the illus. on leaf 3 from another ed. of the Ars moriendi). Provenance: A.A. Renouard (bookplate).
  • -  Gift of Lessing J. Rosenwald, 1943-1975; bookplate of A.A. Renouard.
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.


  • [24] leaves. 11 illus. 28.7 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Incun. X .A874

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 49038880

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright or any other restrictions in the documents in this collection. However, some of the content may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. Additionally, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by privacy and/or publicity rights. The determination of the status of an item ultimately rests with the person desiring to reproduce or use the item.

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division

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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:

Renouard, Ant. Aug. , Former Owner, and Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. Ars Moriendi. [Germany, 1466] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Renouard, A. A. & Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. (1466) Ars Moriendi. [Germany] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Renouard, Ant. Aug. , Former Owner, and Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. Ars Moriendi. [Germany, 1466] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.