A Renaissance Alphabet: Il Perfetto Scrittore, Parte Seconda

By: Cresci, Giovan Francesco; Donald M. Anderson, introduction

Price: $13.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: very good


Hardcover with dust jacket, brown cloth over black cloth spine with gilt spine titles, 28.5 by 22.3 cm, xxii [51] pp., illus. Very good with fading along the bottom edges of the covers; the price-clipped jacket is good with light yellowing and foxing and some small edge tears and chips. Faint musty smell. From the flaps: “Renaissance art was marked by a vigorous adaption of classical themes; and in restyling the alphabet’s characters, no one approached the excellence of Giovan Francesco Cresci. With the publication of this first facsimile edition of Cresci’s Il perfetto scrittore, parte seconda, the informed reader, as well as the student of art and Renaissance history, typography, and calligraphy, now has available a careful reproduction of his highly distinctive alphabet, and a cogent rendition of the philosophical basis for his inspiration. Born into a wealthy family in about 1534, Cresci left Milan, the city of his birth, for Rome in the early 1550s. In 1556 he received an appointment as scriptor to the Vatican library, and four years later he obtained an additional post as a writer for the Sistine chapel. While under appointment to the Vatican, Cresci undoubtedly perfected his skills in the Chancery style of writing, and form practiced in the papal offices since the late 15th century. The author of six manuals and essays on writing, Cresci published one of his two most important works, Essemplare di piu sorti lettere, in 1560. Although the structure of the letters in the volume is influenced by Roman characters, the flourished serifs clearly indicate the personal touch of Cresci. It is in Il perfetto crittore, parte seconda, published in 1570, that Cresci mastered the combination of classical elements with his own refined style. Too often, obsessed with divina proportione, Euclidean geometry, and Vitruvius, Renaissance artists, in attempting to model Roman-like characters, designed letters which lacked the grace of the Latin inscriptions; their work resulted in cold and distorted interpretations. Cresci’s alphabet exhibits remarkably contained letters; hard and lean, the characters indicate a close allegiance to the ancient inscriptions on Trajan’s column. And the serifs, in contrast to his earlier efforts, are composed as adjuncts to the stems of the letters and are less visible in their graphic impact. Here, handsomely reproduced, are Cresci’s twenty-three capital letters. Each letter, originally engraved (white on black) on end-grained wood by Francesco Aureri of Crema, is almost five inches high. And, as in the original edition, the characters are printed twice—lightly inked, and heavily. Donald M. Anderson’s scholarly introduction and Robert J. Rodini’s lucid translation of Cresci’s Discorso della maiuscole antiche romane, an integral part of the volume, give the reader a heightened appreciation of one of the most proficient craftsmen in the history of letter design.”

Title: A Renaissance Alphabet: Il Perfetto Scrittore, Parte Seconda

Author Name: Cresci, Giovan Francesco; Donald M. Anderson, introduction

Categories: Books on Books, Typography,

Edition: first edition

Publisher: Madison, WI/London, University of Wisconsin Press: 1971

ISBN Number: 0299057615

ISBN Number 13: 9780299057619

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition: very good

Jacket Condition: good

Seller ID: 3723