the motif on this T-shirt is the front page of our most valuable incunable by Juraj Dragišić. An incunabulum (pl. incunabula) is a Latin term originally meaning “cradle“ for books printed in Europe between the years 1450 and 1500.
An incunabulum (pl. incunabula) is a Latin term originally meaning „cradle“ for books printed in Europe between the years 1450 and 1500. The invention of the printing press by Guttenberg for the first time in history enabled books to become available to a large number of people at a reasonable price. The art of printing quickly spread from Mainz, Germany, into Italy and the rest of Europe.
The collection of incunabula in the Dubrovnik Research Library contains 81 incunabula. 76 of them have been in the library since its foundation (they were previously owned by monasteries or Dubrovnik’s aristocratic families), 4 were recently purchased, and one was a gift.
The oldest incunabulum in our collection is Julius Caesar’s De bello Gallico (Of the Gallic war) printed in Rome in 1469. However, the most precious and most exquisitely illuminated is an incunabulum by Juraj Dragišić, a Franciscan from Bosnia, printed in Florence in 1499. This book, called De natura angelica (Of the nature of celestial creatures we call angels) was written by Dragišić during his refuge in Dubrovnik and he dedicated it to the Senate of the Republic of Dubrovnik as a sign of gratitude for their hospitality. This unique edition was then given as a present to the City of Dubrovnik by an English archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, in 1932 upon his second visit to Dubrovnik.
Of the twenty known copies of this work, this particular copy is the only one with illuminated miniatures of such great artistic value. It is also used as a logo on the Dubrovnik libraries’ membership cards.