Humanistic minuscule

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page from the book of hours by Giovanni II Bentivoglio , Bologna , approx. 1497–1500. Humanistic minuscule with colored initials and decorations.

The humanistic minuscule is a handwritten book font that was developed in secular circles in Italy at the beginning of the 15th century. The lowercase letters of the Latin writing system in today's common script emerged from this font.

The humanistic minuscule was created as an alternative to the broken Gothic book scripts ( Gothic minuscule , Textura , Rotunda ) and has round, unbroken arches. Historically, it is a further development of the Gothic Bastarda . It is characterized by clarity and readability, balance of style and elegance. It is based on the Carolingian minuscule , which the Renaissance humanists , who were enthusiastic about the idea of ​​reviving antiquity , mistakenly considered a script from Roman antiquity . The humanists therefore called this script litterae antiquae ('ancient letters'), in contrast to the broken script , which they called litterae modernae ('modern letters').

From Italy the humanistic minuscule spread over the rest of Europe. It was used in the 15th century for texts with humanistic content. On the other hand, the broken script continued to be used in this era when it came to texts from the fields of law, medicine, or Thomistic philosophy . Non-academic texts in this era again had their own separate scriptural traditions.

The emerging book printing with movable letters in the 15th century led to the birth of a typeface composed of the humanistic minuscule combined with Roman capital letters: the " Antiqua ".

The impetus from Petrarch

The co-founder of Renaissance humanism Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374) was one of the few medieval authors who wrote extensively on the manuscript of their time. In his essay La scrittura he criticized the (broken) scholarly manuscript of his time. Her painstakingly individually set strokes and luxurious letter shapes would delight the eye from a distance, but tire on closer inspection. The writing appears as if it serves another purpose than to be read. For Petrarch, the broken script violated three principles: script should be simple ( castigata ), clear ( clara ) and orthographically correct. Petrarcha's own handwriting was rounded, softer, and wider. The "Petrarca font" was not yet a humanistic minuscule, but it triggered its development and later also served as the predecessor of the Gotico Antiqua typesetting.

Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) was a great admirer of Petrarch. The “half-Gothic” manuscript from the aftermath of Petrarch to writers in Florence , Lombardy and Veneto spread from his immediate surroundings .

Poggio Bracciolini

Example of the humanistic minuscule by Poggio (before 1459), including Nicolas Jenson's Antiqua (1470)

A handwriting reform that went further than Petrarch's compromise was in the air. The humanist Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459), a tireless collector and researcher of ancient manuscripts , became the creator of the new style . He developed the new humanistic script in the first decade of the 15th century. The Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci later noted in that century that Poggio was an eminent calligrapher of lettera antica and made a living as a scribe - probably before moving to Rome in 1403 to begin his career at the Curia . Berthold Ullman (1882–1965) identified a transcription by the young Poggios of Ciceros Epistulae ad Atticum as a key work for the development of the new humanistic manuscript .

By the time the Medici library was cataloged in 1418 , almost half of the manuscripts had already been written in the lettera antica . The new script was taken up and further developed by the Florentine humanists and teachers Coluccio Salutati (1330–1406) and Niccolò Niccoli (1364–1437).

Features of the humanistic minuscule

The humanistic minuscule is characterized by the directional thickness of the quill pen . Your typeface is light. The tip of the pen is held at a slight angle. The writing has round, unbroken arcs. The shafts are vertical and also end without breaking. The shadow axis is inclined slightly to the left because of the spring angle. There is also a tendency for serifs to form at the ends of the shaft, but these are weak and unobtrusive.

The a is two-story. The d has a vertical shaft. The f ends on the baseline with no descender. The g is round and its descender forms a separate body (two-story g). The h is usually written under the baseline without an arc extension. The o is about the same width as it is high. The s is written as a long s (ſ) or a final s, depending on its position in the word .

The forms of the capitalis monumentalis from the Roman inscriptions were used to emphasize ( mark ) headings, chapter or sentence beginnings .

From the humanistic minuscule to the antiqua

With the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450 , printing with movable type spread from Germany to Europe. The humanistic minuscule became the starting point for the first typesetting , which combined the uppercase of the Roman Capitalis monumentalis with the humanistic lower case letters in one font. These fonts are called after the contemporary term "antique" for the humanistic minuscule Antiqua .

The oldest specifically datable antiqua dates from 1464 by the Strasbourg printer Adolf Rusch . The first qualitatively convincing Antiqua typefaces were developed in Venice around 1470 . The best-known exhibit of this group is the Jenson Antiqua, created by Nicolas Jenson around 1470 .

The Antiqua eventually established itself as the standard font for the Latin writing system and is the most widely used font for Western languages ​​today. In its oldest form, as it was typically used until 1530, it is now called the Venetian Renaissance Antiqua according to DIN 16518 .

The emergence of the humanistic cursive

Comparison between the humanistic minuscule and the humanistic italic
The development of the Latin minuscule

By Niccolo Niccoli inclined developed in the 1420s humanistic cursive , a script is usually characterized as a quickly written version of humanistic minuscule. However, this is less an italic humanistic book font than a modification of the contemporary Gothic chancellery font , which was influenced by the humanistic book font. This is why one sometimes speaks of the cancelleresca all'antica . Humanists in Rome further developed this "chancellery script in the ancient style" in the late 15th century. In the early 16th century, the famous master scribe Ludovico Arrighi distributed calligraphic forms of it.

The humanistic cursive in turn became the starting point for the first printed cursive fonts , which appeared from 1501. These were more compact in typesetting than the non-cursive Antiqua types and became popular for letterpress printing. Only gradually did the Antiqua replace the cursive script as bread script . The cursive font was given the role of a special font for marking out individual passages in a text otherwise set in Antiqua.

The Latin script also developed from the humanistic cursive .

See also

Web links

Commons : Humanistic script  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ D. Thomas, "What is the origin of the scrittura humanistica ?", Bibliofilia 53 (1951, pp. 1-10).
  2. ^ Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe , 2nd Edition (Cambridge University Press) 2006, p. 134.
  3. ^ Martin Davies, "Humanism in script and print," in Jill Kraye, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism , 1996, note 3, p. 60
  4. ^ PO Kristeller , "The European Diffusion of Italian Humanism", Italica 39 , 1962.
  5. Davies, in Kraye (ed.) 1996, p. 51.
  6. ^ Petrarch, La scrittura , discussed by Armando Petrucci, La scrittura di Francesco Petrarca (Vatican City) 1967
  7. Petrarch, La scrittura , in Albert Derolez, "The script reform of Petrarch: an illusion?" in John Haines, Randall Rosenfeld, eds. Music and Medieval Manuscripts: paleography and performance 2006, pp. 5f
  8. Mirella Ferrari "La 'littera antiqua' a Milan, 1417-1439" in Johanne Autenrieth, ed. Renaissance and Humanist Manuscripts , (Munich: Oldenburg) 1988. pp. 21-29
  9. Davies, in Kraye (ed.) 1996, p. 51
  10. ^ Ullman, The Origin and Development of Humanistic Script (Rome) 1960
  11. ^ Stanley Morison , "Early humanistic script and the first roman type", reprinted in his Selected Essays on the History of Letter-Forms in Manuscript and Print , ed. By David McKitterick, 2 volumes 1981, pp. 206-29
  12. Look it up !: 100,000 facts from all areas of knowledge . Springer-Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4684-7374-2 , p. 263 ( ).
  13. font family tree
  14. ^ The German inscriptions. Font description terminology. Wiesbaden 1999, p. 48
  15. ^ Rhiannon Daniels, Boccaccio and the book: production and reading in Italy 1340-1520, 2009, p. 29
  16. ^ "Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture"