Type to Print: The Book & The Type Specimen Book

Roman vs Italic > Saint Catherine

Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1500

The first appearance of a printed italic letter form occurs in this book. In the woodcut shown here, created in the style of Aldus's lavishly illustrated Hypnerotomachia (1499), St. Catharine is shown holding an open book containing a short text set in italic type.

Francisco Griffo of Bologna designed the italic, basing it on the hand used by the papal chancery for the inditing of briefs.

Aldus Manutius (1450-1515) began printing in 1495. His ambition was to print authoritative editions of the classical authors through the excellence of the editing of the text and the fine and careful composition and printing of the books themselves. His first books were printed in Greek type. A roman letter cut by Griffo and first used to print the De Aetna of Cardinal Pietro Bembo in 1495/96 followed.



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