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Art of the Letterform

November 21, 2017–January 29, 2018
Ryerson and Burnham Libraries (weekdays only)

This exhibition explores a fascination with the representation of the Roman alphabet, featuring a survey of 16th- through 20th-century manuscripts and prints. Items on display include copybooks and writing manuals for teaching from the15th and 16th centuries; humanist treatises on the correct proportions for forming Roman capital letters; copybooks from 16th-century Italy utilizing chancery cursive; books of ciphers; volumes featuring historiated initials; type specimen books; examples of fine printing from the 19th century, including the Kelmscott Chaucer; and 20th-century examples of works by artists and designers who found inspiration in letterforms popular in earlier centuries.

Giuliantonio Hercolani. Lo scrittor’ utile et brieve segretario. Bologna: Printed by Alessandro Benacci, 1574.