Bestiary of John of Austria

16th century. (Circa, 1570).

Attributed to Martín Villaverde, who dedicated it to John of Austria, an illegitimate child of Emperor Charles V.

The original copy is preserved in the monastery of Santa María de la Vid (Burgos).

Facsimile recreation of the only Spanish-language bestiary in the world. The whole bestiary is written in Spanish.

Possibly the most illustrated in the world. Over 370 illustrated pages.

It has 484 pages measuring 170 x 237 mm, full of wonders, secrets and myths and with a multitude of coloured drawings of candorous naivety, which in a way anticipate what a few centuries later would be the naïf style. Its extensive graphic display extends over 370 pages.

Handmade binding, accompanied by an important volume of studies that includes, among others, a magnificent essay by Manuel Alvar, who was for many years a member and director of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Limited edition of 696 numbered copies with notarial certificate.

Fray Luis de León Prize 1999 for the best publishing work in special editions and facsimiles.

This medieval work dates back to the middle ages and is a compilation of various creatures and beasts, both real and mythical. The text is accompanied by intricate illustrations, depicting the creatures in vivid detail. The Bestiary of John of Austria gained significance due to its connection with the Battle of Lepanto, which took place in 1571. John of Austria, the son of Emperor Charles V (We also have the Book of Hours of Charles V) was the commander of the Spanish fleet during the battle (also served as the governor general of the Netherlands), and it is believed that he carried this bestiary with him. The illustrations in the bestiary reflect Gothic influences commonly found in the 12th century, while the depictions of the creatures are a treatise in themselves.

With the reproduction of the entire original codex, this facsimile edition allows us to witness and appreciate the beauty and artistry of the illuminations in the Bestiary of John of Austria. The reproduction captures every detail of the original, right down to the texture of the parchment and the vividness of the colors. The current document binding faithfully replicates the style of the original, ensuring the visual and tactile experience is as close as possible to the medieval version.

Originally created in Regensburg (Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Vid), a city known for its influence in natural science studies at the time, this bestiary is not simply a catalog of creatures, but a treatise on the natural world.

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Westminster Abbey Bestiary is a captivating exploration into the medieval world of animals as depicted in illuminated manuscripts. This extraordinary manuscript showcases a menagerie of creatures, both real and mythical, each accompanied by elaborate illustrations and allegorical interpretations. From majestic lions to elusive unicorns, the Bestiary offers a glimpse into the intricate symbolism and folklore of the Middle Ages. With its richly decorated pages and intricate details, this masterpiece serves as a testament to the artistry and imagination of the medieval scribes.