By Maggie Bell (co-author)

Italian typographer Giambattista Bodoni was born into a family of printmakers on 16 February 1740 in Saluzzo in the Piedmont region of Italy. He spent his career, also working as a printer and publisher, in Rome and then Parma, where he died in 1813 after serving as director of the Royal Press of the Dukes of Parma (Stamperia Reale). Inspired by the type-designers Pierre-Simon Fournier (1712-68) and John Baskerville (1706-75), Bodoni developed a new style of typeface whereby letters are cut with strong contrasts of thick and thin elements, and favored uniformity and subtlety in the serifs on the upper and lower parts of letters.  Like Baskerville before him, Bodoni preferred wide margins and little-to-no decoration or illustration. Bodoni’s book of typefaces is still available in print.

Reference: Laura Suffield. “Bodoni, Giambattista.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Various Bodoni publications

Giuseppe Lucatelli, Portrait of Bodoni, c. 1805-6. Museo Glauco Lombardi.

Biagio Martini, Portrait of Bodoni

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