Currently in the labs - Materials from the Monuments of Printing Exhibition, Part 1

October 21, 2011
Astrid Johannah Smith
Exhibit poster

Re-Posted from the Special Collections and Archives Exhibits Program listing -

The Monuments of Printing Exhibition highlights first 250 years of printing in the West 

Johannes Gutenberg's printing of a Bible from movable type in Mainz, Germany in 1455 marked the beginning of a communication revolution in the West. Printers were able to reproduce texts efficiently in quantities virtually unimaginable to a scribe. Monuments of Printing: from Gutenberg through the Renaissance, the first of two exhibitions spanning five-hundred years of printing history, demonstrates the development of typography and printing in Europe over a 250-year period as seen in selected works in the rare book collections of the Stanford University Libraries. The exhibition will open Monday, August 1, in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda on the second floor of the Bing Wing of Green Library, Stanford University, and is free and open to the public.

A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, displayed with a lectern bible manuscript exemplar, and a volume printed in 1702 with type designed for Louis XIV, bookend the exhibition of some forty titles. In between, the exhibition explores the roots of and influences on letterforms, printing, and book design in Europe in the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, and shows work by some of the great European printers, Nicolas Jenson, Aldus Manutius, the Estienne family, and Simon de Colines among them. Highlights include Euclid's Elements (1482) by German printer Erhard Ratdolt; the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili , printed in Venice in 1499 by Aldus Manutius and considered one of the most beautiful early printed books, the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (1514-1517), printed in parallel columns in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek type, and the 1641 Virgil printed by the Imprimerie royale, one of many fine productions of France's state press.

Monuments of Printing: from Gutenberg through the Renaissance will be on display from August 1 through November 27, 2011. The second exhibition, Monuments of Printing: from Caslon through the Book Arts Revival, will be on display December 5, 2011 through March 18, 2012.

Exhibit cases are illuminated Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. The gallery is accessible whenever Green Library is open and hours vary with the academic schedule. For Library hours, call 650-723-0931.

NOTE: first-time visitors must register at the south entrance portal to Green Library's East Wing to gain access to the exhibition in the Bing (west) Wing. For a map of campus and transportation information, go to