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Leibnix - The polymath in Mosaik

Exhibition of the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig
13 November 2016 to 2 April 2017
Opening at 11:00 on 13 November 2016

Press release:  10.11.2016

On the eve of the 300th anniversary of the death of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library will be opening a gallery exhibition devoted to the great scholar in his role as a principal character in the oldest and most popular German comic magazine "Mosaik". The mathematician, philosopher, inventor and historian Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was born in 1646 in Leipzig and died in 1716 in Hanover, and is regarded as one of the great European polymaths. Reflecting his motto of "theoria cum praxi", his ideas were far ahead of their time. Yet his legacy is to be found not only in the sciences: his findings and inventions also inspired numerous comic book artists.

The exhibition focuses on the Baroque series "Gold und große Geister". Through the medium of drawing, the Mosaik comic book artists send Leibniz on fantastic adventures at sea and on land, in the Netherlands, England, France and in the Electorate of Hanover. Together with the three Abrafaxes - Abrax, Brabax and Califax - he meets the great and powerful figures of the time: the Tsar (and carpenter) Peter the Great, the Sun King Louis XIV and scholars such as Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton - Leibniz' greatest rival.

The elaborate drafts and original drawings from the publisher's archive offer not only an insight into how such an imaginative interpretation of the life and work of the scholar is created, but also illustrate the fact that even the most complex of ideas can be explained in not only readily understandable, but also highly amusing terms - a particularly successful example of simplification and cultural crossover. The original drawings and publications on display also highlight the creation process of the comics - from the manuscript and the first sketches through to the coloured drawings and the final printed Mosaik issue.

The exhibition - a collaboration with the Museum Wilhelm Busch – Deutsches Museum für Karikatur & Zeichenkunst, Hanover, organised as part of the Leibniz year - is funded by the city of Leipzig. A special volume entitled "Abenteuer Wissenschaft – Die Abrafaxe unterwegs mit Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz", containing Mosaik pictorial stories and an essay by the Leibniz expert Dr. Georg Ruppelt, has been published to coincide with the exhibition.

Leibnix - the polymath in Mosaik
Exhibition of the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig
13 November 2016 to 2 April 2017
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00, Thursday 10:00-20:00, Holidays (except Mondays) 10:00-18:00.
Free admission.

Exhibition opening: 13 November 2016 at 11:00
Welcome speech: Michael Fernau, Director of the German National Library in Leipzig
Introduction: Dr. Stephanie Jacobs, Head of the German Museum of Books and Writing
Talk: Dr. Georg Ruppelt, Wolfenbüttel: „Leibniz und die Abrafaxe unterwegs in Europa
The Mosaik comic book artists provide an insight into their workshop for the opening of the exhibition.


The book has shaped our culture and civilisation like no other medium. For centuries our knowledge about the world and its peoples has been stored in books. The task of the German Book and Writing Museum of the German National Library is to collect, exhibit and process evidence of book and media history. Founded in 1884 in Leipzig as the Deutsches Buchgewerbemuseum (German Book Trade Museum), it is the oldest museum in the world in the field of book culture, and also one of the most important with regard to the scope and quality of its stocks.

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