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The typographic Times

[September 2008]
The Alde Manuce house in Venice


Aldus Manutius was a famous Italian printer in the end of the XVth century. Established in Venice in 1494, he set up the celebrated Aldine Press. This press is famous in the history of typography, among other things, for the introduction of italics designed by the punchcutter Francisco Griffo. This press is famous also in the history of printing, for the launch of the small octovo books , similar to that of a modern paperback, which were appreciated for their portability and ease of reading.

Aldus ManutiusIn order to promote the study of Greek literature and the publication of Greek authors, Aldus, in 1500 founded the New Academy, or Aldine Academy of Hellenists. Aldus's house became a gathering-place for the learned Greek scholars of the world. And not only Greek: in 1508 the great Dutch scholar, Erasmus, went to Venice and assisted in the publication of his “Proverbs” by the Aldine Press.

The house of Aldus Manutius can be seen Rio Tera Secundo in the Santo Croce area of Venice.Plantin Moretus Museum

Aldus Manutius

PS: in Venice also can be seen on the Canal Grande , the Palazzo Bembo. Bembo was a cardinal, writer of the De Ætna printed in 1495 by Aldus Manutius. For doing this, this latter used his famous roman typeface (Bembo is the name of an interpretation of Aldine Roman by Monotype).

Palazzo Bembo, Venise

Photos © 2008 Jean-Christophe Loubet del Bayle