Maximilian I and Melchior Pfintzing: Teuerdank

Alternate Titles:

Maximilian I. und Melchior Pfintzing: Theuerdank

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Alternate Titles

Maximilian I. und Melchior Pfintzing: Theuerdank

Extent / Format

648 pages / 34.5 x 23.0 cm

Artist / School

Authors : Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) and Melchior Pfintzing
Printers: Hans Burgkmair the Elder, Hans Schäufelein and Leonhard Beck


18 ornate, gold-adorned woodcuts̵

Facsimile editions available


The amazing tales of the knight Theuerdank (alter ego of Emperor Maximilian) and his companion, Ehrenhold, comprise the last great epic verse of the late Middle Ages. The courageous knight's journey to woo his future wife, Mary of Burgundy, and his triumph in battles and other dangerous situations are the focus of this highly embellished “real-life” story of Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519). King of Germany before becoming Holy Roman Emperor in 1508, Maximilian was a great patron of the arts and commissioned a trilogy of ornate, illustrated books to immortalize his existence. Theuerdank, the only volume to be published during his lifetime, was composed by Melchior Pfinzing based on Maximilian's rather fanciful draft. The 118 ornate, gold-adorned woodcuts̵one for each chapter – were made by Hans Burgkmair the Elder, Hans Schäufelein, and Leonhard Beck, while the typeface (known as the Theuerdank typeface and characterized by its striking “elephant trunks”) was specially designed for the book by the printing workshop of Hans Schönsperger the Elder. Produced in 1517 in Nürnberg, this triumph of book design has been described as one of the greatest books of the German Renaissance.

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