Bifolio from a Confraternity Book


Known today primarily for his success in the early print trade, Johann Bämler began his career as a scribe and an illuminator. Featuring miniatures of the Crucifixion and St. Leonard, this bifolio, his earliest known work, once belonged to a charitable confraternity devoted to the saint. The surrounding rose-colored frames bear verse inscriptions. On the left, Bämler signed and dated the work. The prayer on the right invokes Leonard as the patron saint of prisoners seeking liberation. Working for a range of clients, Bämler’s industrious workshop captures the commercial spirit of book production in Augsburg.

Bifolio from a Confraternity Book, in Latin
Illuminated by Johann Bämler (ca. 1430–1504)
Germany, Augsburg, 1457
The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.45
Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1902