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     In 1458 king Charles VII send Nicholaus Jenson, a punch cutter, to study the art of printing under Johannes Gutenburg in Meinz, Germany. Jenson never returned to France, possibly disturbed after Charles' death and Luis XI's rise to the throne, but instead went to Venice along with Sweynheim and Pannartz. They were the first ones to introduce printing in Italy.
     Jenson designed outstanding Greek and Roman fonts that even today serve as reference to font designers. William Morris' Golden Type (1890), Cobden-Sanderson's typeface for Dove's Press (1900), Morris Fuller Benton's Cloister old style (1914) and Robert Slimbach's Adobe Jenson are fonts of recent period's that were greatly influenced by Jenson's work.
     Jenson's style was characterised by the legibility of the letters and the spacing between them that created an even tone througout the pages. This made them more perfectly aligned than any other printer at that time had. In other words, his types had great clarity, liveliness, and at the same time an element of divine repose. Further on, he was among the first who designed
trademarks for the identification of their books. Jenson's fame rests on his typeface found within Eusebius's De Praparatione Evangelica, which as well marks the full flowering of the roman type design.
     In addition, in 1473 Jenson produces his black letter typeface, which he uses in books on medicine and history.
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Nicholaus Jenson, Venice, 1470
Eusebius: De Evangelica Praparatione
9.1 x 13.25 inches
Jenson 1470-76
Nicholaus Jenson, Venice, 1478
Berviarum Romanum
9 x 12.8 inch
© 2004 Natalia Rifai