Stöger Passion: The Suffering of Christ


The so-called Stöger Passion is the first book to have been printed in Bavaria and probably the very first illustrated incunabulum, predating even Albrecht Pfister’s edition of Boner’s Edelstein dated February 14, 1461 as well as Pfister’s Biblia pauperum (Paupers’ Bible) of circa 1462‒63. The book is named after Franz Xaver Stöger the Younger, most likely the son of a Munich auctioneer, who since 1831 had good business contacts with the Munich library and first publicized the work in 1833. The book was printed with movable type similar to those used in the 36-line Bible and in the Gutenberg Bible and which were also used in a Viennese almanac for the year 1462. It is decorated with 20 metal cuts illustrating the Passion of Christ. Preceding the Stöger Passion, the volume contains an edition of the Seven Joys of Mary, printed with the same type and similarly illustrated with metal cuts. The Munich copy is the only complete example of this work, of which seven different editions are known, six in German and one in Italian. Before being used for print works, the metal cuts had been employed to illustrate handwritten prayer books. Created before this edition was printed in 1461, they are similar to images by the Meister der Spielkarten (Master of the Playing Cards), an artist who was active in the area of the upper Rhine, and therefore have often been seen as originating in this region. However, as printed images were highly mobile—this particular artist’s designs were in fact distributed from England to Vienna—and as the manuscripts and printed editions of this text were written in a central Bavarian dialect, the metal cuts may also have originated in Bavaria. The first edition of the small prayer book with its metal-cut illustrations was so successful that a copy of it was soon made, which, in turn, was used to produce similar books with handwritten or xylographic text.

Date Created

Subject Date


Type of Item

Physical Description

21 folios


  • BSB shelfmark: Inc.s.a. 104 m#Beibd. 1
  • This description of the work was written by Karl-Georg Pfändtner of the Bavarian State Library.

Last updated: October 27, 2016