Project Description

Printing R-Evolution 1450-1500. Fifty Years that Changed Europe

Past &

Past & Present

A comparison past and present: Printing R-evolution 1470-2020. The Italian Publishing Industry 550 Years Ago and Today.

Source: ISTC and Fedrigoni

Inspired by the interest for the Printing R-Evolution exhibition shown by a group of Italian publishers, Chiara Medioli (Vice-President, Fedrigoni) and Cristina Dondi decided to pull data at their disposal together and produce a comparison of the Italian publishing industry in the 15th century and today. Today the roles of the graphic designer and of the printer proper, which were combined in the printing workshops of the 15th century, are separate, and this is reflected in the data projected in the 2020 map, where the green is used for the graphic designers, and the yellow for the printers. Data came from ISTC (all printing shops active in every printing city, edited by the 15cBOOKTRADE) and from Fedrigoni (top 1000 graphic designers and top 250 printers). The maps were created by the Atlas of Early Printing (Univ. of Iowa, coordinated by Greg Prickman), and designed by Sebastiano Girardi Studio, Venice.

The comparison was presented and discussed on the occasion of the event Art2Business: Printing R-evolution 1470-2020. The Italian Publishing Industry 550 Years Ago and Today, hosted by the Italian Embassy in London on 23 January 2020. H.E. Raffaele Trombetta Ambassador of Italy to the UK introduced a public talk which included Dom Fabrizio Messina Cicchetti Director of the Library of Santa Scolastica; Cristina Dondi Lincoln College Oxford and Secretary of CERL; Chiara Medioli Vice-President Fedrigoni; Elaine Ward Production Director Phaidon; Nolan Browne London Gallery Director Taschen. It was moderated by Federico Gatti, UK bureau Chief Correspondent, Mediaset.

The event highlighted the importance of the Italian contribution to the European printing revolution and the new knowledge economy, and its continued leadership in today’s specialized printing industry.

Press review: Rai News
Press review: Ministero degli Esteri

The Embassy rooms were also filled with books produced in Italy and brought in for the event by Fedrigoni, Phaidon and Taschen. A successful event which combined past and present, research and business. Around 200 people attended, including Marc Polonsky.

Cultural diplomacy at work: Subiaco incunable at the Italian Embassy in London.

In a wonderful example of cultural diplomacy, the Italian Embassy in London hosted, for six months (January-July 2020), one of the earliest editions ever printed in Italy:

Augustinus, De civitate dei, [Subiaco: Conradus Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz], 12 June 1467. Folio. On paper. Subiaco, Biblioteca Statale del Monumento Nazionale di Santa Scolastica, VI.A.10. GW 2874; IGI 966; ISTC ia01230000; MEI 02125427.

The Italian Ministry for Culture and Tourism (MIBACT) and the Library of Santa Scolastica, Subiaco, welcomed this new initiative, whose presentation was done on the occasion of the Art2Business event hosted by the Italian Embassy on 23 January 2020: Printing R-evolution 1470-2020. The Italian publishing and printing industry 550 years ago and today.

The presence of the incunable at the Embassy promoted the content of Italy’s historical libraries, and supported initiatives of international collaboration centred on their book heritage. In particular, the project to digitize, catalogue to high standards, and promote the incunable collection of Santa Scolastica (2018-2020). A collaboration of the National Central Library of Rome and CERL, funded by The Polonsky Foundation.

‘Agostino’ comes to London
Source: The Polonsky Subiaco Project

Virtual Exhibition