Skip to main content
no
National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art, West Building, Ground Floor, Gallery 21
6th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
yes
yes
no
With neither a unified state nor even a common vernacular language among the various regions of the Italian peninsula, printing presses were established in every city and in many smaller towns. Florence was undoubtedly the cultural beacon of Europe in the Renaissance - a city with a humanist tradition dating to the late thirteenth century, where much vernacular literature originated, the scientific method was cultivated, and artistic development flourished. This exhibition presents a variety of books from the late fifteenth through the early seventeenth century and explores the development of publishing related to the artistic and scholarly community in Florence. With active academic organizations and a community of highly skilled artists, Florentine scholars had a unique relationship with the more prolific Venetian presses. Though never approaching the innovation of Venice, the printers of Florence gradually established their own tradition. Theoretical treatises, literary and historical works, and festival books were all popular fare in Florence and evolved over time.

Picture: Paolo Giovio, 1483–1552, Iscrittioni poste sotto le vere imagini de gli huomini famosi, Florence: Appresso Lorenzo Torrentino Impressor Ducale, 1552, David K. E. Bruce Fund. National Gallery of Art.