For my spread I chose to focus on the style of decoration and type-dependent designs of the time, specifically those closer to the 18th century. The examples used in my blog post, Text me! are the primary inspirations for the illustrative styles. Each paragraph is done in the typographers most used or personal typeset to provide a viewer with the progression of text as the years passed. Nicholas Jenson done in the type face Jenson, and Fust and Shuffer’s paragraph is written in Frakture, the most commonly used font within their works.The text is displayed in a horizontal manner, each paragraph under a letter of DESIGN, since our topic assigned for this week was “Design and Type”. Each letter is customized to the typographer as well, giving the viewer a large-scale view of what their typeface looked like to really emphasize the difference between the two. This allows for the minute differences between them to be discerned easier. I included spot illustrations to provide information about the author without including more text than necessary. For Fust and Shoeffer, I included a small flower from the cover of The Latin Mainz Psalter, their first “Debut” into the printing world. Nicholas Jenson’s paragraph features his colophon below his set of text. William Caxton’s illustration is also his version of a colophon, a very ellaborate signature of “WXC”. Geoffrey Tory’s paragraph includes a close up of a common figure used in the Champ Fleury, done in his signature line work interpretation of the human figure. Granjon’s includes another colophon of his, and Caslon’s includes a small design featured at the bottom of his type specimen sheet. I chose to title it as “You’re just my type’: Men of typography 1450-1750” to keep such an academic and fact driven topic fun and lighthearted.
Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) was a French satirical caricaturist and painter, who harbored a confusing yet fascinating history. His godfather was a painter, who most likely persuaded Daumier to pursue the trade of arts. However, his mothers family hailed from an extremely primitive village and his father spent all of Daumier’s youth in an asylum after a claim to fame via his poetry , where he would pass away in Daumier’s teen years. His childhood was eclectic, to say the least. Daumier would later pursue his artistic career at the age of 18. He was the type of man to stick a pipe in his mouth to hide his lisp, one who had beady eyes and a large nose and stuck out like a sore thumb. This unconventional appearance worked itself into his art. His style was ugly in a way, and Daumier depicted figures who fit a similar description to himself.
His subject matter was often ugly in a way too; his art was filled with difficult, abstract topics that the every day upper class consumer would certainly want to confront. The harshness of his lithographic black-on-white made his topics seem even more abrasive.
Below Daumier depicts French King Louis Phillippe in Gargantua, a highly controversial figure in the history of French rule. King Louis was responsible for the economic collapse of France of 1847. Daumier’s depiction of King Louis landed him behind bars from time to time, but never caused a blow to his popularity or work, as his opinion was favored by the middle and lower class. However it can be assumed that Daumier had a troubled relationship with the upper class of France (the bourgeois) as they made up the majority of King Louis’s support. Daumier earns himself the title as “one of the greatest satirical illustrators of French history” by confronting social and political conflicts with a brazen attitude; even detainment could not stop him from fighting for the desires of the middle class through his art.
Above, Daumier depicts French King Louis Phillippe in Gargantua, a highly controversial figure in the history of French rule. King Louis was responsible for the economic collapse of France of 1847. Daumier’s depiction of King Louis landed him behind bars from time to time, but never caused a blow to his popularity or work, as his opinion was favored by the middle and lower class. However it can be assumed that Daumier had a troubled relationship with the upper class of France (the bourgeois) as they made up the majority of King Louis’s support. Daumier earns himself the title as “one of the greatest satirical illustrators of French history” by confronting social and political conflicts with a brazen attitude and shameless artistic style; even detainment could not stop him from fighting for the desires of the middle class through his art.
Throughout the rest of Daumier’s work we see people as we have never seen them before, with such animated expression and character that they could fit the role of a modern day cartoon villain or oaf. Above, we see Daumier’s commitment to the satirical caricature mixed with his classical training as a painter. He stayed faithful in rendering textures and skin tones, as well as composition and theory. This piece, “Meeting Of Thirty Five Heads Of Expression,” is crowded, but seemingly maintains its composition by the curve of dark clothed limbs at the top of the canvas.
Overall, Daumier’s work stands out to me because of the transcendence of his concepts. “Gargantua,” for example, is a political piece focusing on a long gone European King of the 19th century, but could easily speak volumes to the communist revolution of Russia in 1917, nearly a hundred years later. Daumier seems to speak on troubles that plague the world over and over again. The struggle of the working artist, the unjust hierarchy of classes, the inconsistency of politics and its figures, and the hopeless plagues of war are all common themes in his work that still prevail in today’s struggling international environment. Daumier belongs to a special group of artists and political figures who are able to speak through time. In other words, even though he lived roughly 200 years ago, any viewer could enter a gallery of his works and immediately understand his message through any frame of reference. Perhaps that is why I find his work so strikingly significant.
Sources and Photos:
Hi! My names Talia (I’ll respond to almost any pronunciation that’s not TilYa), I’m a first year student in the IDEA program here at Cap. I have a driving passion for LGBTQ rights and equality, as well as an overwhelming love of anything out of place and strange. I loved English in high school, but I was primarily involved in Fine Arts and Theater, and eventually I’d love to pursue my own business designing packaging for beer and wine bottles. I decided to join the IDEA program because I attended an open house last year in November, and after attending several ones at other schools that focused in fine arts, decided that this is where I wanted to be. I love fine art, but I wanted to find a fulfilling career that was going to remain sustainable in the growing world of media and advertising. I’ve always had a passion for commercial business and wanted to combine my two main loves into a career. I hail from Kelowna (my parents pictured above still live there, I know, we look exactly alike and my dad looks just a little too much like Tom Cruise). But oh man! Vancouver is such a refreshing environment compared to my hometown! I love everything about it here; the deep foliage, the moist air, the smell of the ocean as soon as I step outside, even the rain. I’m looking forward to my next years here as I complete my program. Signs point to me staying here for the foreseeable future. I’d love to find a nice basement suite that allows a small cat or a dog and just settle in to the permanent rain for the next 10 years or so. North Van has always felt like home. My brother, pictured above, has lived here for the last 5 years and just finished his 4 year degree through MOPA in April. I wanted to show a picture of my family because they’re the ones who enabled me to move out to North Van, who encouraged me to pursue a career in design even though they both hail from science and government backgrounds. While decided what school to go to, I always heard “Design? Really? I know photoshop, I don’t need 4 years of a degree to do that.” Or, my favorite, “Fine arts just produces teachers. It’s a bunch of wishy-washy art bullshit that doesn’t really get you anywhere.” Its my family who was always supportive and encouraging, and it’s solely because of them that I am able to do what I love here at Cap.
Survey 4 Summary: Steam and the Speed of Light
This weeks lecture mainly focused on the innovations of the industrial revolution and their contributions to the phenomenon of mass production. We began by touching on the French revolution, world exploration and a changing political climate with the crowning of Napoleon Bonaparte. During the “long 18th century” we see climbing literacy rates, a call for reformed social structure, and as mentioned, and increase in mass production. One of the most commonly produced items was books, with approximately 600 being produced in the crowning year of Queen Victoria. There were several machines that allowed this level of production, like the invention of the Steam Engine (invented by James Watt), lithography (Alois Senefelder), chromolithography, or printing in color (invented by Godfrey Anglemon) as well as several new typefaces used specifically for consumer benefit. These included the first modern typeface Didot, Robert Thornes Fat-faces, and Vincent Figgins Egyptian. All were used to advertise to the middle class consumer. We also discussed the invention of Braille, as well as the Joseph Nieps first photographs using the Heliogravure. Lastly, we touched on the Japanese art form of Ukiyo-e, a minimalistic impressionist style that focused on the entertainment district of Japan. My interests during this lecture primarily lie in the typefaces and Ukiyo-e, due to the secrecy of the latter and the matter in which it was transported to the US. The fact that the artform inspired the movement of Japan-ism and Impressionism was astounding to me. I was blown away that these pieces of art that were valued very little in their own society could have such a profound impact on the Western world.
The Quality of Bookmaking During the Industrial Revolution
It’s hard to imagine that at one time books were once a high class luxury item. Now we see cheap copies of paperbacks almost anywhere. Books inhabit every retail environment, whether it be gas station comics or questionable grocery store romance novels, they’re more than easily attainable today. To make things easier, Canada has a staggering literacy rate of 99%, meaning that even if people don’t necessarily want to buy books, there is nothing stoping them from being able to do so.
The industrial revolution saw a vastly different environment. The average literacy rate throughout Europe was an approximate 50% in the year 1800, with the majority of said statistic consisting of white Englishmen. However, this number was growing throughout Europe, and quickly. This increased demand for books called for a faster method of production, cheaper materials, and ideally, less man power.
Prior to the industrial revolution, books were hand-made, bound in leather, printed on parchment or vellum (high quality calf skin), and hand painted often with precious mineral inks and with gold.
With the invention of the steam engine (done by James Watt in 1765) books were able to be mass produced with significantly less man power. Bookbinders also found many ways to cut costs as the century went on to make the product more consumer friendly and to satisfy the expanding demand. The first cost-cut was in the paper. Vellum was unsustainable and very expensive, so there was a desperate search for an easier alternative. At first paper was switched over to a linen, cotton, or hemp base. This was called “rag” paper. However, as with any product in high demand, the price rose quickly and there was once again a search for more. It was not until the latter half of the 19th century that “modern” paper was created. As stated by www.ibookbinding.com:
“It was not until the 1840s that the initial development of the papermaking machine in England and experiments in ground wood pulping in Germany and Nova Scotia enabled the commercial production of paper, which used wood fibre as part of its composition”
In addition to paper, bookbinders found many other ways to make production cheaper and easier. Leather covers were replaced by starch cloth and cardboard, and were decorated less and less. Cloth tapes replaced the former chords or vellum strips formerly used in the sewing process. The bookbinder would also apply a false band to create the authentic handmade feel. The invention of chromolithography aided in lowering the cost and employee count by getting rid of the need for hand painted illustrations, as did the invention of the sewing machine in 1832 by Phillip Watt. This enabled companies to sew in bindings, instead of doing it by hand. Bookbinding could now be done by the publishers themselves, eliminating another middleman. In 1860, machinists (those who would be working the printing presses and binding machine) would be making an approximate weekly wage of $10.00 a week for 60 hours. Eliminating more employees brought down the cost even further, approximately $520 a year per employee.
So if the quality changed…shouldn’t the price?
Mass production enabled books to become a commonplace object in Europe during the industrial revolution. In fact, from the years 1450-1800 there were 1 726 166 total books produced, with a staggering 641 166 of those being produced in the last half of the 18th century. In the mid 18th century, illustrated books that were short in length cost an average 3 dollars, with custom and luxurious books being much more. 3 dollars in the 18th century was enough to buy food for 1 family for 1 week. Now, the average American family of four spends an average of $239 a week for food. Compared to the prior cost of books (handmade books could cost the same as a farm), 1 week of food was much more affordable.
Survey 3 Summary
This weeks survey focused on the 16th and early 17th century, specifically on the innovations of design and typography, as well as briefly touching on architecture, fine art, and culture of the time. We covered the effect of each era on text and the production of literacy. For example, the Humanist movement brought many scientific and educational published works due to the withdrawn attitudes of citizens in regard to the Church.
Prominent Figures in the 17th Century of Text Design
Johan Fust (1400-1466) and Peter Shoeffer (1425-1503)
Created the First Colour Printed Book
Fust and Shoeffer were two German printers who brought about innovations in the way of printing with color, and first did so in 1459. They printed the Latin Mainz Psalter, what would go on to be the second most well known book printed with metal moveable-type, and the first book that was printed with color. Prior to their achievement color had always been addition that was included by hand; this made the printing costs much more expensive and much more tedious. There is no definite solution for how they achieved this. It’s possible that it was achieved in multiple presses, or each color was painted on and pressed all at the same time. Additionally, the two were the first to use a colophon, a printed design signifying the date printed and trademark of the book. This device is still used today but focuses more on the publisher and not the printer themselves. Fust and Schoeffer would go on to print the Clementine Constitutions (1460), the Sixth Book of Decretals (1465) and multiple other works.
William Caxton (1422-1491)
First Printer in England
Caxton, a printer in England, had originally taken on the task of translating Raoul Le Fèvre’s Recueil des histoires de Troy, but was faced with the arduous task of hand printing and illustrating the complex piece. To solve this problem, Caxton moved to Cologne, Germany and learnt the complex process of printing via a press. Unlike other printers of the time, Caxton did not create his own movable type. He bought his type. After living in Cologne he brought the skill of printing back to England, where he would be the first to run a business of the kind. He worked in Belgium at first and printed his translated copy of the Recueil, titling it The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, printed in French. He work in Belgium for many more years, but in 1476 returned to England and continued his press in Westminster Abbey. Later he would publish the first dated book in English. This was the Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosophers that was dated November 8th, 1477. Caxton would begin the movement of printing in England,