In 1533, hundreds of dragons were reported to darken the skies over Bohemia, following a 1506 sighting of a blinding bright comet slicing over the sky. In the 16th century a diligent scribe and artist chronicled these and other portents of woe in a book that was only rediscovered a few years ago. The book with its 169 pages and vibrant illustrations was surprisingly intact when it went to auction in 2007 in Munich, and after it was sold to James Faber, a London-based dealer, it was revealed to be even more mysterious than previously believed, and about a century older. Now Taschen has recently published an edition of The Book of Miracles, so anyone can brood over its strange contents.
The book dates to the 1550s in the Swabian Imperial Free City of Augsburg, now part of the Bavarian region of Germany. As a clever touch, the Taschen version also includes the reverse sides of each gouache and watercolor image with its scrawled description, and it’s all preceded by art historical essays by Till-Holger Borchert and Joshua P. Waterman. This Friday at Arader Gallery on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, there’s a launch of the book with a presentation by Borchert, who serves as the chief curator at the Groeninge Museum in Bruges. Despite their age, the visuals feel oddly recent, like something that could have come out of the Symbolist movement with its vibrant embrace of the fantastic. No one knows who commissioned the book’s creation, or why, but it reads like a registry of horror…..Full Article Source