1500s Art

It seems so very hard to believe anything from the 1500s has managed to survive through the centuries to today. But, to think that any book has been preserved that long is truly amazing.

This special images category of Reusable Art showcases the artwork we have shared that originated in the 1500s. Some of the scans actually come from the original works that have been carefully maintained by scholars and institutions. Others appeared in later works which explained the origins of the illustrations; many of which are also in the public domain.

The 16th Century

The 16th century was an important period. It was in the heart of the Renaissance and was a time of great discoveries and prosperity. Much of how we see the world began with the ideas of those who lived during this period. To name just a few who lived in the 1500s and changed the world: Galileo, Copernicus, Ferdinand Magellan, Johannes Kepler, Mercator, Rubens, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and da Vinci. And, among all that greatness was perhaps the greatest invention of all – Sir John Harrington of England’s flush toilet.

Jokes aside, I hope in time, Reusable Art is full of wonderful 1500s Art to share with you.

Rosmarus Drawing

16th century rosmarus drawing. From a time when even something as peaceful as a walrus was often turned into a dreadful sea monster.

Vacca Marina

Vacca Marina drawing, one of several from the 16th century artist and historian Olaus Magnus. Fierce, yet, friendly-looking walrus-inspired sea monster.

Norwegian Walrus

Fantastical depiction of Norwegian Walrus from Scandinavian mythology. One of 6 versions of walrus-like creatures created by Olaus Magnus in 1555.

Porcus Monstrosus

What do you get when you cross a pig, a fish and a walrus? A porcus monstrosus of course. Fun sea creature drawing from the Swedish historian Olaus Magnus.

Illuminated Letter D

12, 16th century illuminated letter D images. Beautiful, hand-crafted letters, in the public domain. Blue, red, white, orange, green and gold.

Illuminated Letter A

Eighteen 16th Century illuminated letter A images from a manuscript. Some are gilded. Colors include blue, white, red, orange green and blue/grey.

Illuminated Letter E

17 beautiful illuminated letter E images from a 16th Century Manuscript. Blue and white letters decorated with flowers, vines, leaves and berries.

Illuminated Letter G

Two of over 100 fancy letter images from a 1500s illuminated manuscript. This pair of illuminated letter G images both feature red flowers and green leaves.

Illuminated Letter H

A single illuminated letter H illustration from the 1500s. It features two pairs of griffins decorating a blue letter H. Further decorated with flowers and vines in red, blue and grey.

Illuminated Letter I

Seven illuminated letter I images from the 1500s. One is beautifully gilded. Colors include blue, white, red, green and grey.

Gilded Illuminated Letter L

There was only one illuminated letter L image in the French manuscript. But this 500+ year old work of art would make a fine addition to your own creativity.

Illuminated Letter M

5 illuminated letter M images from the 1500s. Some are gilded. The letters are blue. Decorations vary from flowers to mythological creatures.