(active 1310-1340 in Zurich)

Codex Manesse

Manuscript (Codex Pal. Germ. 848), 355 x 250 mm
Universitätsbibliothek, Heidelberg

The Codex Manesse is the most famous mediaeval manuscript produced in German, and also the most widely known, thanks to innumerable reproductions. It is also a significant textual document, since it is the most extensive collection and most important source of the courtly lyric poetry known according to its content and form of presentation as "Minnesang" (love song). On 852 pages the codex contains the work of 140 authors of the period from 1160 to 1330. The authors include, among others, Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Hartmann von Aue, Emperor Henry VI, and Conradin, the last of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. The text is illustrated by 137 full-page miniatures, of which 110 come from the hand of the so-called Foundation Master.

The manuscript is named after the Zurich patrician family Manesse with whom the patron was associated.

The picture shows the open double page (folios 184v and 185r) of the codex. As throughout, a full-page miniature devoted to the poet is placed opposite the beginning of his songs or gnomic poems. Here we see the first two songs by the Alemanic poet Hartmann von Aue (c. 1160-c. 1210) who was most famous for his verse romances based on the Arthurian cycle and religious legends.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.