University of Rochester

EVENT: Exhibit on "Early Printing at Venice, 1477-1558"

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: now through Friday, Sept. 24, in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, located on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus.
Current hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 15, hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The department will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, for Labor Day.

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public
Note: Parking is available on University lots after 7 p.m. weeknights and all weekend.

July 28, 2004

When Johannes Gutenberg printed the Bible in Mainz, Germany, in 1455 using movable type, he revolutionized the printing process and made possible the mass production of books. Within 40 years, the center of the printing trade had shifted south to Venice, as artisans from other parts of Italy and Europe came to work in the city's vibrant commercial and intellectual atmosphere.

An exhibit in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library spotlights some of the finest examples of Venetian printing from that era. Titled "Early Printing at Venice, 1477-1558," the exhibit offers a glimpse at the social and intellectual world of the Italian Renaissance.

Among the 16 books on display are three pocket-sized books from printer Aldus Manutius. His massive production of small-format books freed the practice of reading from the confines of the university or monastic library and made it portable; diplomats, courtiers, church prelates, and others could carry and enjoy their books anywhere. The smaller size also saved on the cost of paper and made books more affordable.

The exhibit includes six incunables—books printed before 1501—that reveal high technical quality in the use of type and woodcut design. One example, Sphaera mundi, is a collection of astronomical works printed by Erhard Ratdolt that contains colored diagrams. Ratdolt is also known for using elaborate ornamentation for initial letters and page borders, which can be seen in Appian's Historia Romana.

In addition, the exhibit includes descriptions and illustrations of changes in bookbinding techniques after the invention of movable type.

Curator for "Early Printing at Venice, 1477-1558" is Pablo Alvarez of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The exhibit can be seen in the department, located on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library on the River Campus, through Friday, Sept. 24. During the summer, department hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 15, the exhibit can be seen during the regular department hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6, for Labor Day.

For more information, contact (585) 275-4477.




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