Historical Development of Ex-libris
Prof. Dr. Hasip Pektaş *
Researchers, the first and oldest example of exlibris BC. It was made on a light blue tile in 1400 and the Egyptian king III. They explain that Amenhotep (aka Pharaoh Amenhophis III) belongs to the library. 62 x 38 x 4.5mm. This plate is estimated to be attached to wooden crates used to protect papyrus rolls. Exlibrisin has a very long tradition. It is also said to have remained from the time of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal, who lived around 600 BC and gave great importance to culture and art.
Before Gutenberg invented the printing press in Europe in the mid-15th century, books were written by hand in monasteries. Owners of a limited number of hand-written books sometimes have adopted the custom of putting badges suitable for their characteristics inside the book cover. These books are even chained to the legs of the tables in the libraries because they are afraid of being stolen. With the proliferation of libraries with Gutenberg, the need for exlibris has increased.
In real terms, it is known that the first ex-libris was used in Southern Germany in the third quarter of the 15th century. According to the researchers, two of these were made in the name of the book owners Hildebrand Brandenburg and Wilhelm von Zell. These exlibrises consist of a simple coat of arms painted by hand on a tree and a word written by the hand of the owner. In the article; These books, which have been donated to the Buxheim Monastery in Germany, are begged to pray for the souls of their owners. The size of the exlibris depicting an angel holding a shield with a ringed ox, also known as the Brandenburg family crest; It is 63.5 x 63.5 mm. This unwritten ex-libris made between 1470-1480 was printed on waste paper and colored by hand. (Almack, 1904, p.12)
Another of the first ex-libris of the same time is the ex-libris made for German priest Johannes Knabensberg, known under the nickname “Igler” / hedgehog (German hedgedog) in 1450, and depicts a porcupine biting a flower in the meadow. On the upper part of the exlibris are the words “Hanns Igler, hedgehog can kiss you” (Hans Igler das dich ein Igel kuss) in a strip. The aim is to remind the borrower of the book with a joke that when he returns the book, he can be rewarded with a kiss, otherwise he will be targeted by the hedgehog’s arrows. This first ex-libris, which was made with black ink but turned brown after centuries, is larger than today’s standard sizes; It is 190 x 140 mm (Johnson, 1977, p. Iii).
Exlibris, which lived its golden age in Germany in the 16th century, was seen in other European countries in the same century. The first ex-libris in England was made in the early 1500s for Thomas Cardinal Wolsey and in 1574 for Sir Nicholas Bacon; In France, it was determined that it was built for Jean Bertaud in 1529 and for Charles Ailleboust, Bishop of Autun in 1574. The first ex-libris seen in America are those made for Henry Dunster in 1629 and Stephen Daye in 1642 (Keenan, 2003, p.13). Ex-libris was seen in 1585 in Portugal and 1588 in Spain. It emerged in Italy in the 18th century.
Ex-libris, which became widespread with the proliferation of books since the 16th century, were also made by famous artists. It is known that Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) made twenty-one pages of ex-libris for the famous statesman and scientist Willibald Pirckheimer and Hektor Pömer until 1525. Albrecht Dürer has illustrated grape and wine inside the horn, which is a symbol of fertility, in the heraldic coat of arms he made for his friend Willibald Pirckheimer using woodcut technique. Albrecht Dürer also used the text “SIBI ET AMICIS” which means “for himself and his friends” in this exlibris of Pirckheimer, who is a great person; Thus, he stated that Pirckheimer’s friends could also benefit from these books. The Latin word “LIBER” in front of the name means “Willibald’s books”. The word Ex Libris was later used instead of Liber. The size of this exlibris made before 1503 is 149 x 119 mm. The engraved exibri (181 x 100 mm), made by Albrecht Dürer for Willibald Pirckheimer in 1524, with his portrait, can be seen in the books of the Pirckheimer Library at the British Museum. (Hopkinson, 2011, p.6)
In addition to Albrecht Dürer, a group of artists known as “little teachers” also made ex-libris according to the wishes of their friends and book lovers. The reason they are called small is because what they do is small. Also; Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), Hans the Elder Burkhmair (1473-1531), Hans Baldung (Grien) (1484-1545), Hans Holbein (1497-1543), Barthel Beham (1502-1540) and Jost Amman (1539- 1591) is one of the important names of those times when this art was at its peak.
Exlibrises, which differ according to various trends and social environment, were made in 17th century Germany for monasteries, churches, priests, princes and wealthy families with very important libraries. While some book owners affixed these small leaves with their names to their books, some used them only as coats of arms. In particular, a group of book owners in Southern Europe had pressed reliefs, signs and crests made on leather-covered book covers called “supra libros”.
Ex-librises, from its emergence until the first half of the 17th century, included more of the emblem. From the Middle Ages on, weapons, armor and shields had distinctive markings that allowed the cavalry in them to be recognized even from afar. These weapons and supplies were accepted by cultured people who owned libraries as a sign of ownership or a banner that would more quickly identify the owner of the book. There was no need for a letter stating the person’s name. This can be attributed to the reason for the preference for emblem-themed ex-libris at that time. The original decals made by Swiss engraver Jost Ammann for Melchior Schedel in 1570, with a size of 35.4 x 24 cm, may not be considered an ex-libris at first glance. This ex-libris, which looks like a coat of arms from the house, was later used by a family member by changing the name (by writing Sebastian instead of the first name) and by hand coloring.
Exlibris, which was not popular in France until the middle of the 17th century, reappeared with the development of the art of bookbinding in the 18th century. Meanwhile, many famous people have also been interested in this art. XV. Luis and his favorite Marquise of Pompadour, Chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, President Henault, Author Count de Mirabeau had the ex-libris done by important figures of that time.
There were many patterns (motifs) in the ex-libris until the 20th century. Coats of arms were the most used patterns until the 19th century. Next to the owner’s name, an aphorism or password has also been added to these. The influence of Gothic style writings can be seen in the ex-libris of the 15th century. In the 16th century, with the influence of the Renaissance, the surroundings of the coats of arms were decorated with architectural patterns and frames. In addition, ex-librises for typographic and portrait have also emerged.
The influence of the Baroque period was observed in the ex-libris of the 17th century. Paintings were made on religious and erotic subjects, and depictions and decorations started to be used more. While only architectural figures were used in the past, in time, with the influence of the Italian style, small angel paintings, figures and flowers from nature began to be used. In addition to the “nobility crest”, in which the profession of the person placing the order is easily understood, there is also an attitude suitable for the understanding of life.
Since the 18th century, nature and interior depictions have been directed, these spaces are sometimes pictured as fantastic elements, sometimes as images from the library where the book is located. Some of the exlibris of this period were decorated with seashells and spiral flower patterns in accordance with the art understanding of that day.
Ex-libris, which initially consisted of a simple name and symbol, became one of the indispensable applications of large libraries at the end of the 18th century. From time to time, there were also studies that were integrated with handwritten notes in the cover of the book.
In the 19th century, the existence of the book was strengthened with the industrial revolution, and with the invention of rapid printing technology, the foundations of scientific, economic development and intellectual change were laid. Not only private libraries have been developed, but large libraries have also been established. An unprecedented number of books have begun to be produced. With the increase in book printing, it started to be used as simple seals, stamps and ex-libris in a narrower sense instead of designs specific to each book and its owner. But despite everything, different trends and original studies that differ according to the social environment have always been observed.
At the end of the 19th century, a new revival was experienced in the art of ex-libris, and even studies were made for masses. During this period, ex-libris collecting was discovered and became widespread. Cologne antique dealer Heinrich Lempertz can be shown as the pioneer of this field. Lempertz published the ex-librises he collected in 1850 in a book titled “Picture Books on the History of Book Trade, Arts and Professions”. In those years, interest in old German art and the “Heraldic Ex-libris” (Heraldic Coat of Arms) works, which were about to be forgotten, increased again. Ex-librises, which are no longer just made with the idea of pasting on books but also started to be used as objects of accumulation and change, have become independent as an original graphic work rather than being a book-specific sign. Theoretical research on this subject has begun to be carried out, books and journals to be published and associations where collectors meet have been established.
“A Guide for Ex-libris Studies”, also known as “Warren’s Guide”, was prepared in England in 1880 by J. Leicester Warren, later known as the Tabley Lord; artists, ex-libris classification and old examples are included. (Castle, 1893, p.16). And eleven years later, in 1891, the first collectors’ association named “Ex-libris Society” was established in London. (Butler, 1990, p.10). Ex-libris associations established in Germany in 1891, France in 1894, Switzerland and Italy in 1908, and Belgium in 1918 made significant improvements for ex-libris with their printed books, educational bulletins and documents. Over time, these associations have multiplied, and they have published magazines, address lists and organized competitions so that their members can exchange ex-libris in a size that goes beyond the borders of the country.
The first International Ex-libris Congress was held in 1953 in Kufstein, Austria. Lugano in Switzerland in 1954, Antwerp in Belgium in 1955, Frankfurt in Germany in 1956, Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 1957, Barcelona in Spain in 1958, It was made in Vienna in 1960 in Austria, in Leipzig in Germany in 1961, in Paris in France in 1962, in Krakow in Poland in 1964 and in Hamburg in Germany in 1966. The congresses are officially held by the International Federation of Amateur Ex-libris Associations (FISAE) established in 1966. (Junod.2014)
In 1900, many artists turned to new searches and reflected the styles and approaches of applied arts to their ex-libris. These German artists of the new style called “Jugendstilkünstler”; Daniel Nikolaws Chodowiecki (1726-1801), Hans Thoma (1839-1924), Max Klinger (1857-1920), Lovis Corinth (1858-1925), Max Slevogt (1868-1932), Max Liebermann (1847-1935), Fidus di Hugo Höppene (1868-1948), Emil Orlik (1870-1932), Heinrich Vogeler (1872-1942), Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) and Franz Marc (1880-1916). These include artists such as Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Franz von Stuck 1863-1928), Fritz Erler (1868-1940), Julius Diez (1870-1957), Mathilde Ade (1877-1953) and Willi Geiger (1878-1971). can also be added. Important names of the art of painting have also done ex-libris works. The first ones that come to mind are Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Kaethe Kollwitz (1867-1945), Emil Nolde (1867-1956), Paul Klee (1879-1940), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Karl Schmidt – Rottluff (1884) -1976), Oscar Kokoschka (1888-1980) and Frans Masareel (1889-1972).
Willi Geiger, who made numerous ex-libris as an ex-libris artist, also maintained his competence in the field of painting. In addition, some people from all walks of life have used eklibrisi. Some of those; Presidents of the USA, George Washington (1732-1799), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), writer Jack London (1876-1916), producer, director, screenwriter Walt Disney (1901-1966), actor Gloria Swanson (1899-1983) German statesman Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), French soldier and politician Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), chemist Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794), British director, actor and author Charlie Chaplin (1989-1977), philosopher William Penn (1644-1718), author Charles Dickens (1836-1858), Queen II. Elizabeth (1926-), Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Italian statesman Mussolini (1883-1945). (Junod.2014)
t is possible to create a wide range with today’s exlibris artists. Juri Jakovenko, Ivan Rusachek, Anna Tikhonova, Aleksandr Ulybin from Belarus, Mirsad Konstantinovic from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Veselin Damyanov-Ves from Bulgaria, Marin Gruev, Julian Dimitrov Jordanov, Onnik Karanfilian, Hristo Naidenov, Eduard Georgiev Penkov, Peter Velikov, Jiri Brazda from the Czech Republic, Vladimir Gazovic, Robert Jancovic, Karel Zeman, Lembit Löhmus from Estonia, Juri Orlov, Anneke Kuyper from the Netherlands, Wim Zwiers, Peter Ford from the UK, Italy Maria Maddalena Tuccelli, Katsunori Hamanishi, Takeshi Katori, Yukio Maekawa, Ichibun Sugimoto, Akira Tokuchou, Shigeki Tomura, Man Zhuang, Natalija Cernetsova from Latvia, Valentinas Ajauskas from Lithuania, Marcin Bialas from Poland, Hanna T. Glowacka , Piotr Gojowy, Wojciech Luczak, Elzbieta Radzikowska, Alexei Bobrusov from Russia, Yuri Borovitsky, Olga Keleynikova, Andrey Machanov, Sergey Nesterchuk, Yuri Nozdrin, Irina Yelagina, Viladimir Zuev, Ivan Miladinovic from Serbia , Peter Augustovic, Igor Benca, Karol Felix from Slovakia, Oleg Denisenko from Ukraine, Sergey Hrapov, Sergiy Ivanov, Konstantin Kalynovych, Ulla Günther from Germany, Axel Vater, Argentina with high pressure exlibris such as linoleum , Veronika Kyral from Austria, Ottmar Premstaller, Frank-Ivo Van Damme, Gerard Gaudaen, Mark Severin from Belgium, Marcos Babtista Varela from Brazil, Peter Lazarov from Bulgaria, Miroslav Houra from the Czech Republic, Martin Manojlin, China ‘ den Hao Chen, Mingming Niu, Zhou Dong Shen, Jean Marcel Bertrand from France, Lukasz Cywicki from Polonyo, Ryszard Tobianski, Evgenij Bortnikov from Russia, Anatolia Kalaschnikow, Valeriy Pokatov, Mikhail Verkholantsev, Arkady Pugachevsky from Ukraine, Gennady Pugachevsky Karel Benes from Czech Republic, Marcel Hascic, Vladimir Suchanek from Czech Republic, Vladimir Gazovic from Slovakia, Hao Chen from China, Martin R. Baeyens from Belgium with screen printing exlibris, Japan Masao Ohba from A, Xiaozhuang Dong, Jing Zhang from China, Karoline Riha from Austria with computer design ex-libris, Martin R. Baeyens from Belgium, Christine Deboosere, Sylvia Dehuysser, Kurt Herman, Ann Kestens, Sophie Vael, from Israel Rafi Münz from Poland, Krzysztof Marek Bak, Rastko Ciric from Serbia, Alexandrovich Vigovsky Ruslan from Ukraine are the notable artists.
* Prof. Dr. Hasip Pektaş, Üsküdar Unv. Faculty of Communication. Chair of Cartoon and Animation Department. President of Istanbul Ex-libris Society