As an ex-libris, also book-marks, book-marks and book-appropriation marks, a slip, which is glued in books and indicates to which the respective book belongs, is designated. Partially this function but also a stamp (Exlibrisstempel). The exlibris is usually found on the front page of a book that connects the book block to the book cover at the front and back or can be found on the title page of the respective publication. Before there were printed ex-libris, the reference to the property was handwritten. Such ex-libris appeared in the course of book printing, that is to say in the Renaissance. Books became more affordable, which led to the development of private libraries.

The term consists of the Latin preposition ex, which can be translated with and from the noun libris, which means the majority of the word book, ie books. The phrase ex libris can therefore be literally translated from the books and subsequently became a separate word.

The phrase thus means that the respective work is a publication that comes from the books [of XY]. As a result, the so-called exlibris contained, in addition to the words ex libris, the name of the owner. In addition, such a bookmark is usually provided with a small piece of art that individualizes it. The ex-libris of Hildebrand Brandenburg is considered the oldest:

The ex-libris of Brandenburg and Knabensberger are the oldest of their kind.
Exlibris of Hildebrand Brandenburg (left) and Hanns Igler Knabensberger (right)

The above example on the left is the oldest bookmark. It is estimated at the end of the fifteenth century, with the formation between 1470 and 1490. However, the ex-libris of Hanns Igler Knabensberger (right), a vicar in Hessian Schönstadt, are also dated to this period. Consequently, its bookmark could also be the oldest of its kind.

What is important in these representations is the large-scale work of art, which demands the greatest space of representation. Brandenburg’s variant also comes without the name of the name and is graphical in nature. In the coming decades however, variants developed, which follow the structure of lettering, small picture and names of the owner.

The example shown was designed by the painter E. M. Lilien and shows a bookmark for the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. The work was created around the turn of the century between the 19th and the 20th century and is also a testimony to the fact that, after a first high in the Renaissance, exlibris became popular once again in the Fin de Siècle, especially in symbolism.

In addition to the described placards, which are placed in the book or glued, there are also so-called ex-libris stamps (partly also as possession stamps, book stamps, Bücherstempel, name stamp) which are used to specify the ownership within a book. They can be round, oval or angular and usually show the obligatory lettering as well as the name of the owner. The stamp is printed directly in the book with an ex-libris stamp.

History of the ex-libris
As already described, such book-entry marks came about in the fifteenth century. This development is directly related to the invention of the book printing by Johannes Gutenberg, which caused a media revolution and made books on mass commodity and also raised to a quite affordable consumer article.

The first forerunners of such ex-libris were handwritten notes, which can already be found in monastic libraries and scriptories (monastery libraries) in the Middle Ages. In the course of the book printing, however, private libraries grew, so that there was a desire to clearly identify their own book stocks. This desire is ultimately responsible for the fast and enormous popularity of the described ex-libris.

From the 15th century, the bookmarks of Hildebrand Brandenburg and the vicar Hanns Igler Knabensberger, who are among the oldest of this kind, were founded at the end of the 15th century. In the sixteenth century, more and more artists began to deal with the creation of ebendies, and subsequently created various artistic treasures.

Well-known artists who created such bookmarks are Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Holbein the Younger and Hans Burgkmair the Elder, Sebald Beham, Barthel Beham and Hans Baldung. This art quickly captured numerous European countries and can be found in the Holy Roman Empire, France, Bohemia, Poland and Italy.

The illustrations in the ex-libris are quite different. Still in the Renaissance there are more coats of arms (often including currency) and portraits; Baroque is dominated by allegorical bibliography. In the 18th century there are often pictures of libraries; in the Biedermeier floral motifs, such as leaves and plants, were quite frequently chosen. A new high came to be seen around the turn of the century (19th / 20th century), of which numerous artistic works, which mainly originated with symbolism and art nouveau, testify.

Short overview: The most important overview
As an ex-libris, also book-marks, book-marks and book-appropriation marks, a slip, which is glued in books and indicates to which the respective book belongs, is designated. Furthermore, there are so-called ex-libris stamps, which take over this function. Such stamps are usually reduced to a lettering and the name of the owner, while bookmarks usually have an artistic representation.
Such deposits were popular in connection with book printing. In this period, the 15th and 16th centuries, many private libraries were created, which led to the desire to characterize their own books. Such book-books are from then on to be found in all epochs, but experienced another high in the late 19th century.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *