New Exhibition: Medieval Animal Illustrations in the SuUB

A rare opportunity: a new exhibition of the State and University Library Bremen will display illustrations of animals in medieval manuscripts. This historical collection is normally not accessible to the public. The exhibition will open on May 14, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Animals were constant companions of humans throughout the Middle Ages. Whether as a sources of food or labor, means of transportation, as hunting companions or targets, they were of great importance to people of all social classes. In the visual arts and in literature, they bore important symbolism. It is therefore not surprising that animals were a common motif in medieval illuminated manuscripts. Dragons and lions, unicorns and horses, human-animal hybrids – these and other animals are often found in the miniatures, full-page paintings, intricate border illustrations, and ornate chapter letters, and make the Middle Ages vivid and tangible.

An exhibition at the SuUB Bremen is now dedicated to these depictions of animals in late medieval manuscripts. The focus is on the richly illuminated medieval manuscripts from the Bremen collection.

Invitation to the Opening Event

On May 14, 2024 at 5 p.m. at the SuUB headquarters on Uni-Boulevard

  • Welcome by Dr. Johann-Günther König (Friends of the SuUB)

  • Introductory lecture by Dr. Jan Ulrich Büttner (University of Bremen)

  • Friends of the SuUB invites you for a drink after the introduction and the curator Dr. Maria Hermes-Wladarsch will be available to answer questions.

An accompanying publication has been created for the exhibition which can be purchased at the opening event.

Further Information

“Was da kreucht und fleucht. Tierdarstellungen in mittelalterlichen Handschriften der SuUB Bremen” (All creatures great and small. Animal illustrations in medieval manuscripts of the SuUB Bremen), May 14 to August 17, 2024. The showroom in the library headquarters is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (in German only)


Dr. Maria Hermes-Wladarsch
Head of Historical Manuscripts of the State and University Library Bremen
Tel. 0421/218-59571

Reichhaltig illuminierte mittelalterliche Handschriften aus der Bremer Sammlung.
The focus is on the richly illuminated medieval manuscripts from the Bremen collection.