The Book of Books: 500 Years of Graphic Innovation
cloth, 463 pp., $65.00
Mathieu Lommen, a distinguished authority on book collections and their history, shares his knowledge of the invention and spread of printing in this fascinating volume. Lommen provides an overview of graphic design in all its forms, using selections from the University of Amsterdam Library to illustrate printing types and manuscripts. A numer of the works included in this well-illustrated volume are scientific, illustrating the close marriage of art and science in the Renaissance. He begins with a discussion of the first known European printing office with movable type in the German free city of Mainz, ca. 1450. Printing rapidly spread from dozens of printing offices in Germany, Strasbourg, Italy, and the Low Countries to hundreds throughout Europe. The advance of scholarship in both the sciences and the humanities during the humanist period led to the further development of printing in the sixteenth century. Lommen reflects on the changing type styles and reference materials during the following years. Historical and other typefaces re-entered the market at the turn of the twentieth century when private presses began to print limited editions for the elite interested in books as beautiful objects. Lommen ends with an examination of new topography, the use of innovative photomontages, and other creative techniques.
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