Madonna and Child

Germany (Upper Rhine), c. 1500
Lindenwood with original paint and gilding, height 27.2 cm

12th Century

Knowledge in the Middle Ages

‘Delights’ for the mind

Herrad of Hohenburg (1125/1130–1195) was abbess at Hohenburg Abbey on Mont Sainte-Odile in Alsace. She wrote the important encyclopedia, the Hortus delicarum (Garden of Delights), that encompasses the theological and secular knowledge of the High Middle Ages. It also includes the oldest known pictorial depiction of a Madonna on the Crescent Moon.


Birth of a Genius

The inventor of book printing

Johannes Gensfleisch, called Gutenberg (c. 1400–1468), is born in Mainz. Around 1450, the printing press he invents, combined with movable type, replaces the work-intensive and time-consuming methods used in book production up until then. The mechanical mass production of books is now possible for the first time. The ‘Gutenberg Bible’ that is printed between 1452 and 1454 is considered Gutenberg’s most important work. Another form of printing that is also developed in the 15th century is coppperplate engraving. This was primarily used for illustrated works. Our Madonna is the product of this invention, being a copperplate engraving by Master E.S.