Showing posts with label Typography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Typography. Show all posts

16 February 2016

Giambattista Bodoni - type designer

 Celebrity printer whose name lives on in type

A portrait of Giambattista Bodoni
by Giuseppe Lucatelli circa 1805
Typographer, printer and publisher Giambattista Bodoni was born on this day in 1740 in Saluzzo in the region of Piedmont.

At the height of his career he became internationally famous and was complimented by the Pope and paid a pension by Napoleon.

Bodoni designed a modern typeface that was named after him and is still in use today.

His father and grandfather were both printers and as a child he played with their leftover equipment. He learnt the printing trade at his father’s side and at the age of 17 travelled to Rome to further his career.

Bodoni served an apprenticeship at the press of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the missionary arm of the Catholic Church.

In 1768 he was asked to assume management of the Duke of Parma’s Royal Press, where he produced Italian, Greek and Latin books.

He started using modern typefaces of his own design and came up with the typeface that retained the Bodoni name in 1790.

He became well known and important travellers visited his press to see him at work. Bodoni produced fine editions of the writings of Horace and Virgil in 1791 and 1793 respectively and Homer’s Iliad in 1808.

He died in 1813 in Parma , but his widow, Margherita, completed his work on a series of classics for his new patron, Joachim Murat.

Five years after his death she published a manual of all his typefaces.

Travel tip:

Saluzzo, the birthplace of Bodoni, is a town in the province of Cuneo in the region of Piedmont. Once named Saluces and part of France, it was ceded to the House of Savoy in 1601 and eventually became part of Piedmont . As well as a 15th century Cathedral, which has a Baroque high altar, the town has a 14th century church, dedicated to San Giovanni, which has a striking Gothic fa├žade and Cloister.

Parma's baptistery, one of many historic
sights in city in Emilia-Romagna
Photo: Philip Schafer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Travel tip:

Parma, where Bodoni worked and eventually died, is an historic city in the Emilia-Romagna region, famous for its ham (Prosciutto di Parma) and cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano), the true ‘parmesan’. In 1545 the city was given as a duchy to the illegitimate son of Pope Paul III, whose descendants ruled Parma till 1731. The composer, Verdi, was born near Parma at Bussetto and the city has a prestigious opera house, the Teatro Regia.