Apr 7, 2008

Augustine - De Ciuitate Dei (1475 Edition)


Aurelij Augustini De Ciuitate Dei.
Confectum Venetijs: Ab ... Nicolao Ienson, Petro Momenicho principe, anno a natiuitate Domini milesimo quadringe[n]tesimo septuagesimo quinto sexto nonas Octobres [2 Oct. 1475]. (Download here)
This beautiful edition was printed by Nicholas Jenson (1420-1480) of Venice, who was one of the finest printers of the Renaissance. He cut several beautiful fonts of type for his presses, fonts that would later inspire many modern printers, especially in the 19th-century revival of fine printing in England. Establishing himself in Venice in 1470, Jenson issued more than seventy titles in the following decade.

Master of the French royal mint at Tours, in October 1458 Nicolas Jenson was dispatched by King Charles VII to Mainz, Germany, to learn the new art of printing. By the time of Charles’ death in 1461, Jenson had still not returned. He left Mainz the following year, when the city was sacked, quite possibly with Sweynheim and Pannartz. It is suggested that Jenson did not wish to return to a France under the new king, Louis XI. These three were the first to introduce the invention of printing to Italy. Jenson arrived in Venice around 1467, printing and publishing there from 1470 to 1480. His types, based on the upright calligraphic styles of the time, are regarded as among the very best of the Renaissance, indeed of all time.

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