Decorative incunable leaf from the Latin edition of Schedel's Liber Chronicum.
The Liber Chronicum (Nuremberg Chronicle) was first published in the summer of 1493 in Latin. The German edition appeared in December of the same year. With its 1809 wood cuts the work contains more illustrations than any other book of the 15th century. The book describes the history of the World from creation up to the publishing year of 1493, The work was published in a transition age between medieval times and the renaissance which is shown by its form as an medieval chronicle but at the same time its use of classical sources, in a modern way. The images are executed by the artists Michael Wolgemut and Willhelm Pleydenwurff. Wollgemutt was the instructor of Albrecht Dürer.
Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514) was a physician, book collector, and writer whose most famous work, the Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle), included some of the first printed views of many cities in Europe and across the world.
Schedel was born and died in Nuremberg, but he also traveled for his education. From 1456 to 1463 he lived in Leipzig, where he attended the University of Leipzig and earned his MA. From there he went to Padua, where he earned a Doctor of Medicine in 1466. After university, he worked for a time in Nördlingen and then returned to Nuremberg. In 1482 he was elected a member of the Great Council of Nuremberg.
The Chronicle was published in 1493. Besides this major work, one of Schedel’s most enduring legacies is his magnificent manuscript and printed book collection, one of the largest of the fifteenth century. In 1552, Schedel's grandson, Melchior Schedel, sold about 370 manuscripts and 600 printed works from Hartmann Schedel's library to Johann Jakob Fugger. Fugger later sold his library to Duke Albert V of Bavaria in 1571. This library is now mostly preserved in the Bayerische Staasbibliothek in Munich.
Among the surviving portions of Schedel's library are the records for the publication of the Chronicle, including Schedel's contract with Anton Koberger for the publication of the work and the financing of the work by Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, as well as the contracts with Wohlgemut and Pleydenwurff for the original artworks and engravings. The collection also includes original manuscript copies of the work in Latin and German.