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Parisian Greek-Style Binding for Marcus Fugger

Parisian Greek-Style Binding for Marcus Fugger, ca. 1555
On: Plato. Opera (Greek). Basel: Johann Walder, 1534
Black goatskin over wooden boards, bound à la grecque with lavishly dotted gilt backgrounds, exuberant gilt interlaces, and varicolored goatskin onlays; painted armorials on center; edges gilt and goffered in an arabesque pattern with red and green paint
PML 42590. Purchased with the assistance of the Fellows, 1951
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This exceptionally elaborate and splendid binding was created for Marcus, or Marx, Fugger (1529–1597), a member of the Augsburg banking family, who shared the family‚Äôs passion for learning, the arts, and elegance. It is abundant in its luxury, especially considering that the ensemble has been made up entirely of very small tools, repeated endlessly. Gommar Estienne, the royal binder at Paris, 1555–59, is probably responsible for this tour de force.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.