MONUMENTAL INCUNABLE BIBLE
EXTRAORDINARY COPY OF A MAGNIFICENT BOOK
BIBLIA LATINA cum Glossa Ordinaria. [Strassburg: Adolph Rusch for Anton Koberger, not after 1480]. 4 volumes bound in 3. 1210 leaves, Complete (except for one blank). 472 x 332 mm; some very light occasional waterstain. The opening leaf of Genesis with a luxuriant full filigree border of violet and gold; 68 large colored filigree initials heightened with gold and numerous smaller filigree initials in violet, red and blue; rubricated throughout. Contemporary Italian binding of blind-stamped red morocco over wooden boards, with metal bosses and corner pieces, and leather clasps (one lacking); some early expert restoration to the spines. Very Rare. (Goff B-607; HC 3173*)
Price on Request
A Highly Important First Edition and a Typographic Masterwork.
Rusch’s 1480 Bible ranks second only to the Gutenberg Bible in historical significance. It contains The First Printing of the Glossa Ordinaria: the authoritative Church-sanctioned commentary on the Bible, incorporating 600 years of Biblical interpretation by the greatest Church Fathers. Intellectually viewed, the Glossa framed and crystallized the Christian worldview — exerting the greatest influence over the entirety of western thought and culture.
The largest incunable ever printed, the publication of this Bible was the most ambitious printing project of its time – requiring the international cooperation of 3 of the greatest printers of the 15th century: Rusch of France, Amerbach of Switzerland, and Koberger of Germany. Like Gutenberg before him, Rusch strove to copy the traditional manuscript format of his text: the Biblical text proper here being printed center page with varying density of interlinear paraphrase and bordering commentary. Though an exceeding challenge, the end result is a typographic tour de force of consummate beauty.
The present copy is Exceptional for its Size, Illumination, Binding, and Completeness. It is, for example, more than an inch taller and wider than the Nakles copy (which was itself described as “a wide-margined copy”). The “carpet page” illumination of its opening page is altogether stunning, and its 68 larger initials (and numerous smaller initials) are all executed with the highest skill. Together with its magnificent contemporary stamped bindings, it is altogether difficult to imagine a grander copy of this Monumental Bible in private hands.