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Merian Bible

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text Martin Luther (1483-1546); illustrations by Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593-1650), printed by Lazarus Zetzners Erben (1616-1652)1630printed in Strasburgtypographic letterpress, illustrated with copper etchings41,5 x 28,5 x 12 cm

The Merian-Bible is a prominent example of the bible and book illustration of the 17th century. In 1627, Matthaeus Merian the Elder started publishing booklets in landscape format, which he called the picture bible ("Icones biblicae") and which contained his illustrations with texts in verse form. At the time publishing a complete edition of the Bible seemed too risky for Merian. The Thirty Years War was raging and it was not foreseeable which countries or states might be interested in a German edition of the Bible, translated by Martin Luther (1483-1546). The complete bible, found in the collection of bibliophile art at the MKG, was eventually printed in the Offizin of L. Zetzners Erben in Strasburg. Merian is not mentioned as a publisher.