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Looking at illustrations

In this video we look at the importance of illustrations in printing.

Look carefully at the various online links provided to the many German and Latin editions of the Ship of Fools below.

You will see that the same woodcuts were re-used again and again in different editions. This was a common practice, given the cost of their production.

  • Explore these four versions of the Ship of Fools (Das Narrenschiff (German version) and Stultifera Navis (Latin version)) below.
  • You can navigate these books by clicking on the arrow keys located at the top of each link.
  • Describe in the comments a woodcut you have found to be reused multiple times.
  1. Sebastian Brant, Das Narrenschiff (Basel, 1494). Source: German edition of the Ship of Fools from the Sächsischen Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden.
  2. Sebastian Brant, Stultifera navis (Basel, 1497). Source: Latin edition of the Ship of Fools from the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany. See also Sebastian Brant, Stultifera Navis (Basel, 1497). Source: Universitätsbibliothek Basel, DA III 2, / Public Domain Mark.
  3. Sebastian Brant, Stultifera Navis (Basel, 1498). Source: University of Houston, Texas.
  4. Sebastian Brant, Das Narrenschiff (Frankfurt am Main, 1553). Source: Zentralbibliothek Zürich, 25.43: b, / Public Domain Mark.
Note: In the video, at 3 minutes 44 seconds, images from the frontispiece and page 18 are displayed, but page 20 is described in the audio.
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The History of the Book in the Early Modern Period: 1450 to 1800

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