is the term used to describe the development of Western civilization that
marked the transition from medieval to modern times.
In the 12th cent. a rediscovery of Greek and Roman literature occurred
across Europe that eventually led to the development of the humanist movement
in the 14th cent. In addition to emphasizing Greek and Latin scholarship,
humanists believed that each individual had significance within society.
The growth of an interest in humanism led to the changes in the arts and
sciences that form common conceptions of the Renaissance.
14th cent. through the 16th cent. was a period of economic flux in Europe;
the most extensive changes took place in Italy. After the death of Frederick
II in 1250, emperors lost power in Italy and throughout Europe; none of
Frederick's successors equaled him. Power fell instead into the hands
of various popes; after the Great Schism (1378–1415; see Schism, Great),
when three popes held power simultaneously, control returned to secular
rulers. During the Renaissance small Italian republics developed into
despotisms as the centers of power moved from the landed estates to the
cities. Europe itself slowly developed into groups of self-sufficient
compartments. At the height of the Renaissance there were five major city-states
in Italy: the combined state of Naples and Sicily, the Papal State, Florence,
Milan, and Venice. Italy's economic growth is best exemplified in the
development of strong banks, most notably the Medici bank of Florence.
England, France, and Spain also began to develop economically based class
Renaisance Painting: Sandro Boticelli (1445 - 1510)
Renaisance Painting: Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571 - 1610)
in the latter half of the 15th cent., a humanist faith in classical scholarship
led to the search for ancient texts that would increase current scientific
knowledge. Among the works rediscovered were Galen's physiological and
anatomical studies and Ptolemy's Geography. Botany, zoology, magic, alchemy,
and astrology were developed during the Renaissance as a result of the
study of ancient texts. Scientific thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci,
Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Johannes Kepler attempted
to refine earlier thought on astronomy. Among Leonardo's discoveries were
the revelation that thrown or shot projectiles move in one curved trajectory
rather than two; metallurgical techniques that allowed him to make great
sculptures; and anatomical observations that increased the accuracy of
1543 Copernicus wrote De revolutionibus, a work that placed the sun at
the center of the universe and the planets in semicorrect orbital order
around it; his work was an attempt to revise the earlier writings of Ptolemy.
Galileo's most famous invention was an accurate telescope through which
he observed the heavens; he recorded his findings in Siderius nuncius
[starry messenger] (1610). Galileo's Dialogo...sopra i due massimi sistemi
del mondo [dialogue concerning the two chief world systems] (1632), for
which he was denounced by the current pope (because of Galileo's approval
of Copernicus), resulted in his living under house arrest for the rest
of his life. Tycho Brahe gave an accurate estimate of planetary positions
and refuted the Aristotelian theory that placed the planets within crystal
spheres. Kepler was the first astronomer to suggest that planetary orbits
Art of Calligraphy
It was inevitable that the upheval described above would also affect our
subject matter. One of the major benefits of this new milieu of learning
and enquiry was the spreading of literacy, i.e. the ability of not only
to be able to read but also to write. Keeping diaries and notebooks became
a widespread practice, not only amongst artists and scientists but also
amongst the wealthy upper classes and the aristocracy, as did the sending
back and forth of notes and letters. As a consequence the art of calligraphy
as well as of page layout and lettering aquired special importance. Calligraphy
masters travelled from mansions to palaces teaching the new educated elite
these new fine crafts. However, it is the scholarly notebooks and texts,
often embelished with illustrations, that are the most noteworthy of the
late 15th to mid 16th centures. Top left is a letter of the famous Italian
scholar Pietro Bembo, after whom the
typeface "Bembo" was named by it's creator Francesco Griffi.
Florentine painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scholar, and one
of the greatest minds of the Renaissance; born at Vinci, near Florence,
in 1452; died at Cloux, near Amboise, France, 2 May, 1519, natural son
of Ser Piero, a notary, and a peasant woman. He was reared carefully by
his father, and was remarkably gifted and precocious. Few artists owed
so little to circumstances and teachers. He was quite self-made. His work
was small in bulk, and what remains may be counted on fingers of both
hands. Few men had such varied talent and amassed such encyclopedic knowledge;
his method as an artist was original with him, science was the measure
of beauty, he combined fact with poetry and made use of both to carry
on wide investigations in nature and to reproduce life according to the
very laws of life. There are three periods in Leonardo's biography: The
Florentine period (1469-82); the Milanese period (1483-99); the Nomadic
Paintings of Leonardo da Vinci
1490 and 1495 he developed his habit of recording his studies in meticulously
illustrated notebooks. His work covered four main themes: painting, architecture,
the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy. These studies and sketches
were collected into various codices and manuscripts, which are now hungrily
collected by museums and individuals. It is these notebooks that are of
particular interest to us, not only due to the beautiful illustrations
and technical drawings but also through their extraordinary page layouts.
Notebook pages of Leonardo's concerning engineering projects.
Notebook pages of Leonardo's on anatomy.
reading and images
The great intellectual movement of Renaissance Italy was humanism. The
humanists believed that the Greek and Latin classics contained both all
the lessons one needed to lead a moral and effective life and the best
models for a powerful Latin style. They developed a new, rigorous kind
of classical scholarship, with which they corrected and tried to understand
the works of the Greeks and Romans, which seemed so vital to them. Both
the republican elites of Florence and Venice and the ruling families of
Milan, Ferrara, and Urbino hired humanists to teach their children classical
morality and to write elegant, classical letters, histories, and propaganda.
Renaisance book bindings
The Renaisance illuminated books: Lighter, whiter and elegant.
In the course of the fifteenth century, the humanists also convinced most
of the popes that the papacy needed their skills. Sophisticated classical
scholars were hired to write official correspondence and propaganda; to
create an image of the popes as powerful, enlightened, modern rulers of
the Church; and to apply their scholarly tools to the church's needs,
including writing a more classical form of the Mass.
which began as a movement to revive ancient literature and education,
soon turned to other fields as well. Humanists tried to apply ancient
lessons to areas as diverse as agriculture, politics, social relations,
architecture, music, and medicine. This new influx of knowledge necessitated
the production of secular books. In the Middle Ages, magnificent illumination
was rarely used in the decoration of secular texts. In the Renaissance,
though sacred texts continued to receive the most sumptuous decoration,
secular texts began to rival them for elegance of script, illumination,
reading and images
Renaisance masters of type
New, humanist writings required creating a new type of fonts---more secular,
more legible, and more elegant. Additionally, the usage of paper had gradually
replaced parchment and vellum and while rag paper was still expensive
it was still more cost efficient than parchment. Thus the need for the
condensed gothic typefaces was also becoming obsolete. Page designs were
rapidly becoming lighter, more and more white white space was making its
apperance. Thus came the first "revival wave," the first time
when font artisans looked into the past in order to create better typefaces
for the present. The problem at that time was, however, that ancient Romans
didn't have but uppercase, capital letters. While adopting their designs
for capitals, Renaissance typographers had to spend more time working
on lowercase lettershapes. As a basis, they took carolingian scripts that
were common in early Middle age (before the blackletter had become dominant
style across the Western Europe), but changed them significantly to match
the Roman uppercase letters and to better adopt to Gutenberg's printing
technology (that had just appeared).
(1450–1515) He was educated as a humanistic scholar and became tutor to
several of the great ducal families. One of them, the Pio family, provided
him with money to establish a printery in Venice. Aldus was at this time
almost 45 years old. He devoted himself to publishing the Greek and Roman
classics, in editions noted for their scrupulous accuracy; a five-volume
set of the works of Aristotle, completed in 1498, is the most famous of
his editions. He was especially interested in producing books of small
format for scholars at low cost. To this end he designed and cut the first
complete font of the Greek alphabet, adding a series of ligatures or tied
letters, similar to the conventional signs used by scribes, which represented
two to five letters in the width of one character. To save space in Latin
texts he had a type designed after the Italian cursive script; it is said
to be the script of Petrarch. This was the first italic type used in books
(1501). Books produced by him are called Aldine and bear his mark, which
was a dolphin and an anchor. Aldus employed competent scholars as editors,
compositors, and proofreaders to insure accuracy in his books. Much of
his type was designed by Francesco Griffi, called Francesco da Bologna,
who also designed the typeface "Bembo", after the Humanist scholar
Pietro Bembo. The Aldine Press was later managed by other members of his
family, including a son, Paulus Manutius (1512–74), and a grandson, Aldus
Manutius (1547–97), who was best known for his classical scholarship.
Binding and pages
reading and images
was a Parisian publisher. He was one of the leading type designers of
his time, and several of the typefaces he designed are still in use, notably
the font Garamond, named in his honor. Garamond
came to prominence in 1541, when three of his Greek typefaces were requested
for a royally ordered book series by Robert Estienne. Garamond based them
on the handwritings of Angelo Vergecio, the King's Librarian at Fontainebleau,
and his ten-year-old pupil, Henri Estienne. According to Arthur Tilley,
the editions are "among the most finished specimens of typography
that exist." Garamond's Roman were created shortly thereafter, and
his influence rapidly spread throughout and beyond France during the 1540s.
Granjon, designed by Robert Granjon is the closest typeface to the
are several typefaces called Garamond. Some are based on the work of Claude
Garamond. The “original” Garamond belongs to the family of “Renaissance”
or “old style” serif typefaces. The font that most resembles the original
Garamond is not named Garamond, but Granjon - designed by Robert Granjon,
to differentiate it from the many other kinds of
one of the major printers in Paris during the first third of the sixteenth
century, wrote and printed this theoretical treatise on the design of
Roman capital letters in 1529. He was rewarded by François I with the
title of Imprimeur du Roi in 1531.
Pages from Champs Fleury, 1529
type designers attempted to find special relationships between the proportions
of the letters and the shape and dimension of the human body. Thus, just
like Dürer, whom he criticized severely, Tory shows how to draw letters
with geometrical aids, and how their proportions relate to the human body.
Although the book was not aimed at the printing trade, the work is mentioned
by many subsequent writers on lettering and printing and has had a great
influence on typography.
Baroque masters of type
From the Renaisance masters of type, who created/refined
lowercase characters to setting up the basic principles of page design
we come to the Baroque masters who took the art of book design and typography
even further: Pages became even whiter, margins broader and type even
more refined. One of the most beautiful characteristics of Baroque page
design are the ornate borders and typographic flourishes.
the arts, Baroque is both a period and the style that dominated it. The
Baroque style used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail
to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting,
literature, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and
spread to most of Europe. In music, the Baroque applies to the final period
of dominance of imitative counterpoint, where different voices and instruments
echo each other but at different pitches, sometimes inverting the echo,
and even reversing thematic material.
another one are the printers marks:
A printer's mark
(1666-1714) was a French type engraver notable for his series of Roman
and italic types known as Romain du Roi (French: King's
Roman). King Louis XIV, in 1692, directed that a typeface be designed
at any necessary expense for the exclusive use of the Royal printer. The
design was carried out by Grandjean together with a group of mathematicians,
philosophers, and others.
Romain du Roi
(1692–1766) was an English gunsmith and designer of typographic fonts.
In 1716 he started a business in London as an engraver of gun locks and
barrels, and as a bookbinder's tool cutter. Being thus brought into contact
with printers, he was induced to fit up a type foundry, largely through
the encouragement of William Bowyer. The distinction and legibility of
his type secured him the patronage of the leading printers of the day
in England and on the continent.
typefaces were influenced by Dutch types then common in England. His work
influenced John Baskerville and are thus the progenitors of Transitional
types, which in turn led to Modern types. Caslon typefaces were very popular
and used for many important printed works, including the first printed
version of the Declaration of Independence. They fell out of favour in
the century after his death, but were revived in the 1840s, and Caslon-inspired
typefaces are still widely used today.
(1706 - 1775) was a printer in Birmingham, England, a member of the Royal
Society of Arts, and an associate of some of the members of the Lunar
Society. He directed his punchcutter John Handy in the design of many
typefaces of broadly similar appearance. His
businesses included japanning and papier-mâché, but he is best remembered
as a printer. He printed works for Cambridge University in 1758 and although
an atheist, printed a splendid folio Bible in 1763. His fonts were greatly
admired by fellow member of the Royal Society of Arts, Benjamin Franklin,
who took the designs back to the newly-created United States, where they
were adopted for most federal government publishing. His work was criticized
by jealous competitors and soon fell out of favor, but since the 1920s
many new fonts have been released by Linotype, Monotype, and other type
foundries – revivals of his work and mostly called 'Baskerville'.
Book pages designed by John Baskerville
is thought that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who once lived in Birmingham,
borrowed his name for one of his Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of
the Baskervilles - which, in turn, was borrowed by Umberto Eco for the
character William of Baskerville in his best-selling novel, The Name of
(1712 - 1768) was a French mid-eighteenth century punch-cutter, typefounder
and typographic theoretician, master of the rococo form. Typefaces designed
by Fournier include Fournier and Narcissus.
was known as Fournier le Jeune: his father Jean Claude was also in the
type-setting industry. In his early life, Fournier studied watercolour
with J. B. G. Colson, and later wood engraving. In 1737, Fournier published
his first theoretical work, on the minimum spacing between letters, while
still retaining readability. The typefaces that Fournier and successors
created had such extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes, that
there was a constant risk of the letters shattering.
Typographic manual by Fournier
the Netherlands was superseeded by France, King Louis XIV commissioned
new type for during his reign, called Romain du roi. The King kept the
font as a monopoly to himself, with penalties against unauthorized reproduction.
In the following century, Fournier's Modèles des Caractères (1742) continued
the romaine du roi style, but adapted it for his own new age. Upon publishing
Modèles des Caractères, filled with rococo and fleurons, Fournier's publication
helped revive the 1500s concept of type ornaments.
masters of type of the Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment refers to either the eighteenth century
in European philosophy, or the longer period including the seventeenth
century and the Age of Reason. It can more narrowly refer to the historical
intellectual movement The Enlightenment, which advocated Reason as a means
to establishing an authoritative system of aesthetics, ethics, and logic,
which, they supposed, would allow human beings to obtain objective truth
about the universe. Emboldened by the revolution in physics commenced
by Newtonian kinematics, Enlightenment thinkers argued that the same kind
of systematic thinking could apply to all forms of human activity.
intellectual leaders regarded themselves as a courageous elite who would
purposely lead the world into progress from a long period of doubtful
tradition, irrationality, superstition, and tyranny, which they imputed
to the Dark Ages. The movement helped create the intellectual framework
for the American and French Revolutions, the Latin American independence
movement, and the Polish Constitution of May 3; and led to the rise of
classical liberalism and capitalism. It is matched with the high baroque
and classical eras in music, and the neo-classical period in the arts;
it receives contemporary attention as being one of the central models
for many movements in the modern period.
18th century brought about the ultiamte refinement in page design and
typography, especially embodied in Giambattista Bodoni's work. The beautiful
font "Bodoni", named after him is one we use with relish even
(1730-1804) succeeded his father François, and was appointed printer to
the clergy in 1788. All the lovers of fine books highly appreciate the
editions known as "D'Artois" (Recueil de romans français, 64
vols.) and "du Dauphin", a collection of French classics in
32 vols., edited by order of Louis XVI. He also published a Bible. He
invented a new printing-press, improved type-founding, and was the first
to print on vellum paper.
Book title page by Didot (left). Contemporary base upon Didot's type
1780 he adapted the "point" system for sizing typefaces by width.
This he established as 1/72nd of a French inch (i.e., this was before
the metric system), which was larger than any of the former Imperial inch
of the UK or that of the US, let alone the international inch of 25.4
mm. His unit of the point was later named after him as the didot. It became
the prevailing system of type measurement throughout continental Europe,
its former colonies, and Latin America. In 1973 it was metrically standardized
at 0.375 mm for the European Union. The English-speaking world, on the
other hand, established the unit called simply the "point,"
originally to the same proportion of the smaller inches of the various
(1740-1813) was an Italian engraver, publisher, printer and typographer
of high repute remembered for designing a typeface which is now called
Bodoni achieved an unprecedented level of technical refinement, allowing
him to faithfully reproduce letterforms with very thin "hairlines",
standing in sharp contrast to the thicker lines constituting the main
stems of the characters. His printing reflected an aesthetic of plain,
unadorned style, combined with purity of materials. This style attracted
many admirers and imitators, surpassing the popularity of French typographers
such as Philippe Grandjean and Pierre Simon Fournier. Bodoni was appointed
printer to the court of Parma in 1768. Important folio editions by Bodoni
are works by Horace (1791), Vergil (1793), and Homer (1808). The Bodoni
Museum, named for the artisan, was opened in Parma in 1963.
Book design by
maps and scientific Illustrations
Scientists illustrated their research and studies with images from early
days onwards: Indeed even some of the Egyptian frescoes seem to point
at scientific depictions. There
are, of course, many herbariums and medicinal books in Medieval Europe
that were illustrated with
drawings; but it is with the onset of the renaisance and especially the
baroque and the age of the enlightenment, bringing about the spirit of
scientific accuracy and of research that scientific illustrations really
came into their own.
(1514 - 1564) was a Flemish anatomist and author of one of the most influential
books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Workings of
the Human Body). Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern
human anatomy. Vesalius'
name is also referred to as Andreas Vesal or Andreas van Wesel, depending
on the source.
reading and images
The voyage of HMS Endeavour (1768-1771), under the legendary Captain James
Cook (1728 - 1779), was the first devoted exclusively to scientific discovery.
This link below will you to a site that presents most of the botanical
drawings and engravings prepared by artist Sydney Parkinson before his
untimely death at sea, and by other artists back in England working from
Parkinson's initial sketches.
in Scotland, Parkinson came to London in 1766 and was soon after engaged
by Banks to work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he worked for
a year before before joining the Endeavour. One of two on board artists,
neither of whom survived the voyage, Parkinson died at sea shortly after
Botanical drawings of Sydney Parkinson
reading and images
illustrations of flora and fauna in the 17th and 18th Centuries
Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (1683-1741)
William Curtis (1746 - 1799)
Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-l840)
art of cartography
(1470 - 1522)
Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) "The Mercator Atlas"
Abraham Ortelius(1527 - 1598) "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum"
Johann Bayer (1572 – 1625) "Uranometria"
Astronomical maps by Julius Schiller, 1627 (left) and Stanislaw Lubienicki,
reading and images
Cyclopaedia, or, A Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences
(folio, 2 vols.) was an encyclopedia published by Ephraim Chambers in
London in 1728, and reprinted in numerous editions in the 18th Century.
The Cyclopaedia was one of the first general encyclopedias to be produced
Tables from "Cyclopedia"
or "Encyclopedia, or a systematic dictionary of the sciences, arts,
and crafts" was an early encyclopedia, published in France beginning
in 1751, the final volumes being released in 1780. The editor-in-chief
Denis Diderot (1713 – 1784) was a French philosopher and writer, a prominent
figure in what became known as the Enlightenment.
and technical drawings
The famous work entitled "French Architecture" was written
and illustrated by Jacques-François Blondel between 1752-1756. The most
significant churches, royal mansions, palaces, hotels, residences and
other buildings of Paris, as well as holiday homes and castles on the
outskirts of Paris and in other parts of France, built by the most celebrated
architects". The full work contained 498 large-sized illustrations
by celebrated architects showing panoramic views and detailed interior
and exterior decoration composition drawings of 18th century notable buildings
churches, royal palaces, monuments, parks, etc. A range of architectural
styles can be viewed, and many of these buildings no longer exist or been
remodelled, such as the Palace of Tuileries which was destroyed by fire
in 1871. The initial four volume work was published by Charles-Antoine
Jombert, one of the leading French printer-publishers of the 18th century.