This volume is dedicated to frontispieces and title pages of early printed books of the High Renaissance. Woodcuts and engravings of frontispieces, title pages, page borders, chapter headers, capital initial letters and printer’s devices were needed for this new fast growing craft.
Hans Holbein, Albrecht Durer (Duerer or Dürer), Lucas Cranach the Elder and many other famous artists accepted commissions to create similar artwork. The invention of the printing press did not immediately do away with manuscript writing and illuminating; books were also printed before the end of the fifteenth century, but they looked pretty much like the ones copied by hand. Woodcut blocks existed before the invention of the printing press, but it was their use in printing that created a huge demand for the services of woodcutters and then engravers; the blocks could be locked into the forme together with the type and printed in the same process.
The blocks were typically made of a plank; fine grain wood such as beech, apple, or pear was used. The spaces that were to remain white were cut away with knives and burins; blocks functioned in the same manner as the characters: the relief surface received the ink and produced the image on the paper. Some of these Title Pages and Illuminated Initials were cut on metal, the most common being dotted in the “manière criblée”.
Rapidly presses were functioning in most of the countries of Western Europe. Printers tended to establish in large urban centers where there were scholars, ecclesiastics, lawyers and nobles who formed their major customer-base. Works in Latin formed the bulk of the earliest printing, but as books became cheaper, works in the various vernaculars (or translations of standard works) began to appear. Often the printer was also the artist and the engraver, the calligrapher and the bookseller. Many of those early printers and the artists and engravers that produced the printing blocks for them reached a high level of quality.
Each decorative image and element is meticulously hand-drawn. Many advanced designers will find our vector file versions with the following desirable feature: preserved, original hierarchies and groupings to facilitate modifications and enable the extraction of unique elements. Though resolution-independent vector formats insure high-quality reproduction at any size and allow complete latitude for pre-production modifications, our CD collections also include common pixel-based file formats of each graphic and a vector format supported by Office applications for desktop publication.
No special skill is required to use the images as clip art in word processing documents, to create letters, cards, invitations, posters, etc.