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Manutius and the Bembos

Aldus Manutius

Aldus Manutius’s relationship with the learned Venetian patrician, diplomat and collector Bernardo Bembo (1433-1519) and his son Pietro (1470-1547), a well-known humanist, scholar, grammarian and theorist of Italian literature in vernacular, can be regarded as one of the most fruitful in the history of the book in Europe.

The three men shared the same passion for classical culture and texts, enthusiasm for learning and love of books. Pietro collaborated with Aldus in the editing of some of the texts for publication, while Bernardo willingly lent to him manuscripts from his own library. From these ancient codices and humanistic manuscripts Aldus drew inspiration for the design, founts and format of his editions.

By virtue of his skills as a printer and publisher and his artistic talent as a book designer, Aldus created books that eliminated the distance from the past and built a bridge to the future as they contributed to change the appearance of Western books for ever.