"[Illuminated Leaf]", Luc Antonio Giunta
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1520 (published)
Publication: Pontificale secundum ritus sacropsancte Romanae ecclesie
9.5 x 13.5 inches
24.1 x 34.3 cm
The word incunabula derives from the Latin cuna (cradle), and is used to denote books printed during the infancy of printing in the latter half of the 15th century. The earliest printers were trained in the manuscript tradition and incorporated the conventions of historiated initials and illustrations into their early work. At first they left those spaces blank for the illuminator to complete entirely by hand. Later they developed printing methods (using woodcuts or iron engravings) to decorate the leaves.
Fine paper leaf from this liturgical book that contains the rites for the performance of Episcopal functions. Printed in red and black ink, in two columns. The verso begins with a brilliant illuminated capital "P" containing a flower in red, green, blue and gold leaf. Also included is a hand colored woodblock illustration of some traveling monks. This is a great example of early printing and the combination of illumination during this period of transition. Patriarch Luc Antonio, called The Coryphaeur, or leader of printers founded the highly regarded printing house of Giunta in 1482. After his death in 1537, the business was carried on by his descendants in Italy, France, and Spain, well into the 17th century.