Michael Wolgemut

Wilhelm Pleydenwurff


Or "The Nuremberg Chronicle". Editor Anton Koberger. Nuremberg, 1493. Latin and German editions. German translation by Georg Alt (1450-1510).

The World Chronicle was a first encyclopedia of history and geography to have so many illustrations. It encompassed the history of the mankind from the Creation of the World till the year 1492. There were stories from mythology, from the Bible, from Gospels, views of cities, often almost unknown to Europeans, portraits of kings, emperors, Church figures, images of saints, Apostles, contemporary events and many other things.

645 woodcuts made in Michael Wolgemut’s workshop were used to make more than 1800 illustrations, full-page and small ones. The same picture could mean different cities or different people; nothing would be changed but the label. The authorship of some pictures cannot be identified; they probably were made by Michael Wolgemut and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and partly by other masters.

In 1497, in Augsburg, Schedel’s World Chronicle was published again with woodcuts by Thoman Burgkmair (a painter of Augsburg, father of Hans Burgkmair). The book was of a smaller format but with the same prints, placed in the same order. Thoman Burgkmair made new woodcuts, using smaller plates. This fact demonstrates the incredible popularity of the book and of Wolgemut’s illustrations.