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Tag: renaissance

Prints & Propa­ganda

By the sixteenth century, printmaking — or art prints — had become a burgeoning industry in Europe. Millions were printed and many thousands have survived until the present day. Their significance goes well beyond their value as art or artifact, revealing a great deal more than artists’ talents and virtuosity. A closer look at their subject matter and iconography reveals much about the motives of those who collaborated to publish them, sometimes making them as much propaganda as art.

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The Geometer’s Compass

The European Renaissance was obsessed with classical antiquity. For many of its intellectuals it marked a cultural and scientific golden age. Many classical authors, among them the likes of Lucretius and Cicero, were rediscovered and celebrated. And among the disciplines given a new lease of life during the Renaissance was geometry. A branch of mathematics […]

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Meditations on Snowflakes

Born in December 1571 in southwest Germany, Johannes Kepler would go on to become one of the greatest observational astronomers of all time. He would also write books that forever transformed our view of the cosmos. He is best known for his three laws of planetary motion that describe the motion of planets around the […]

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Pomp, Type & Circumstance

Within several decades of its invention in Europe, the printed book was already outselling handwritten or manuscript books. A very conservative estimate would be that 12 million books were produced from the publication of Gutenberg and Fust’s first printed Bible in about 1455 until the end of 1500. In those first decades, printing was an […]

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The first fashion books, Renaissance pixel fonts & the invention of graph paper

Fashion is a global, multi-billion dollar industry. From haute couture to five-dollar tees, it is inescapable — at least for those of us who wear clothes, that is. It is supported and promoted by vast publishing enterprises of glossy magazines and books and million-dollar advertising budgets. And although, arguably, we might say that fashion got […]

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Renaissance memes

Enigmatic Emblem Books were one of the best-selling literary genres of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Learn who invented them and why they were so popular.

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Magic Printed

These days, we tend to associate magic either with the sleight of hand tricks performed by magicians and illusionists, or with the fictional universes of the likes of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.

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