Amadis of Gaul


Amadís de Gaula (Amadis of Gaul) belongs to the genre of chivalric romances written in Spain in the late 15th century and the first half of the 16th century, often based on French sources. They are characterized as imaginative works of illusion, filled with wonders and enchantments. The Amadís of the National Library of Colombia is a beautiful volume of 600 pages (more than 1,500 pages in today's editions), printed in two columns in gothic type. It is illustrated with numerous woodcuts covering a wide variety of topics, made in artistic workshops and copied from previous editions of the book. These attractive illustrations date from the period in the history of engraving in which contoured line drawing was first used to enhance details and intensify the richest hues of black and white. This edition contains the original four books of the Amadís, first edited and printed in Zaragoza, Spain, at the beginning of the 16th century by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, based on earlier sources. Numerous sequels and translations of the work later appeared in Europe and the New World. This edition was printed by Juan Cromberger, who was instrumental in introducing the printing press to the Americas in the 1530s. His family in Seville specialized in printing books of chivalry, mostly produced in folio size, with gothic typefaces, including a print of the hero on horseback on the cover and minor woodcuts in each chapter. The Cromberger editions set the tone for future printings and were imitated until the mid-16th century.

Last updated: March 19, 2013