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Giambattista Bodoni

Bodoni, Giambattista (jämbät-tēˈstä bōdōˈnē) [key], 1740–1813, Italian printer b. Piedmont. He was the son of a printer and worked for a time at the press of the Vatican. Under the patronage of the duke of Parma, he produced stately quartos and folios with impressive title pages and luxurious margins. With Baskerville in England and the Didot family in France, Bodoni was a leader in originating pseudoclassical typefaces. These were distinguished from the "old style" of Caslon by emphasizing the contrast of light and heavy lines and by long, level serifs. Bodoni's most notable publications include folio editions of Horace (1791), Vergil (1793), The Divine Comedy (1795), and Homer (1808). His coldly elegant books were frankly made to be admired for typeface and layout, not to be studied or read. He was apparently indifferent to the quality of the text he printed and to editing and proofreading. William Morris considered Bodoni's mechanical perfection in typography the ultimate example of modern ugliness.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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