The latest ten books to be fully indexed on the project website are:
- Regiomontanus, Johannes: Kalendarium Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 9 Aug. 1482
- Johannes de Sacro Bosco: Sphaera mundi Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 6 July 1482
- Alchabitius: Libellus isagogicus Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 16 Jan. 1482
- Abraham ibn Ezra: De luminaribus et diebus criticis [Padua: Matthaeus Cerdonis], 7 Feb. 1482/83
- Caesar, Gaius Julius: Commentarii Venice: Philippus Pincius, 25 Oct. 1494
- Lucanus, Marcus Annaeus: Pharsalia Parma: Deiphoebus de Oliveriis, 22 May 1483
- Ficinus, Marsilius: De vita libri tres (De triplici vita); Apologia; Quod necessaria sit ad vitam securitas Florence: Antonio di Bartolommeo Miscomini, 3 Dec. 1489
- Horatius Flaccus, Quintus: Opera [Treviso: n. pr. for Michael Manzolus, not before 13 Aug. 1481]
- Aegidius (Columna) Romanus: In Aristotelis analytica posteriora commentum Venice: Bonetus Locatellus, for Octavianus Scotus, 29 Dec. 1495
- Duns Scotus, Johannes: Quaestiones in Universalia Porphyrii Venice: Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, 5 Jan. 1492/93
All of the books featured in this batch were printed in Italy, six of them in Venice – undeniably the printing capital of the 15th Century. It has been estimated that Venice was responsible for about an eighth of all the books printed during the incunabula period, producing no fewer than 4,500 editions (totalling some two millions volumes!).
Many of Venice’s most famous printers were immigrants, attracted to the great merchant city by the protection and liberty it offered foreign settlers. None is more renowned than Erhard Ratdoldt, three of whose books are included here. Originally from Germany, he brought new techniques to Venice and produced some of the most beautiful illustrated books of the late 1470s and 1480s.
Pioneering in the use of woodcuts – both for ornamentation in decorative borders and initials, and for practical use in technical and scientific diagrams – Ratdolt produced some remarkable and technically innovative publications. Perhaps most impressive are those of his books which include moving instruments that still work after more than five hundred years – such as the Calendar (printed in 1482) with volvelles (or paper wheels) that can be manipulated to show the motion of the moon.
Ratdolt eventually returned to Augsburg, taking his woodcut blocks with him, thus dispersing the work of Italian artists north.
Remember that you can use our printer’s index to trace other examples of books printed by Ratdolt, or find other Venetian books (and there are certainly plenty of them) by browsing the A-Z of books by country and town.
Tags: 15th century illustrated books, Erhard Ratdolt, Glasgow Incunabula Project, illustrated incunables, incunabula, rare books, Special Collections, Venetian printing, volvelles, woodcut instruments, woodcuts