INVENTION and DISCOVERY:
Printed Books from Fifteenth-Century Europe
An Exhibition at Bridwell Library, February 1 – May 3, 2010
|PRINTING IN ITALY||
25. ST. AUGUSTINE, Bishop of Hippo (354–430). De civitate dei. Venice: Johannes and Vindelinus de Spira, 1470.
The first printer in Venice, Johannes de Spira from Speyer, Germany, obtained a patent on the art of printing within the city in 1469. When he died in 1470 during the printing of this edition, his brother Vindelinus was able to carry on the work, but not his brother’s monopoly on the press. Within a decade he and his local competitors had made Venice the leading center of the fifteenth-century printing industry.
In Bridwell Library’s copy of the de Spira edition
of De civitate dei, the white-vine decorations were painted over
hand-stamped woodblock patterns that served as guides to the anonymous
illuminator. These stamped borders and initials were not printed by the de
Spiras, but were added separately to multiple copies of this and several
other books by an illuminator known as the “Master of the Putti,” who
designed the blocks to enhance his productivity as he worked through stacks
of printed books.
may not be published without the permission of Bridwell Library.