Lodovico degli Arrighi

Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi was a papal scribe and type designer in Renaissance Italy.

Very little is known of the circumstances of his life. He may have started his career as a writing master in Venice, although this has been disputed. Around 1510 he was a bookseller in Rome. He was employed as a scribe at the Apostolic Chancery in 1515. His experience in calligraphy led him to create an influential pamphlet on handwriting in 1522 called La Operina, which was the first book devoted to writing the italic script known as chancery cursive. This work, a 32-page woodblock printing, was the first of several such publications.

Lodovico degli Arrighi

Lodovico degli Arrighi

Lodovico degli Arrighi

Lodovico degli Arrighi

Lodovico degli Arrighi

He turned to printing in 1524 and designed his own italic typefaces for his work, which were widely emulated. His last printing was dated shortly before the sack of Rome (1527), during which he was probably killed.

His letterforms were revived in the 20th century by designers such as Stanley Morison, Frederic Warde, Robert Slimbach (for example Adobe Jenson italic) and Jonathan Hoefler (in his Requiem Text typeface.) The italic script presented in La Operina was also revived in the 20th century with Alfred Fairbank's book A Handwriting Manual (1932), Getty-Dubay italic script, and the work of Gunnlauger SE Briem.

Lodovico degli Arrighi

Operina (above) is based on a 16th-century lettering model of the scribe Ludovico degli Arrighi (Vicentino Ludovico degli Arrighi) used in his 1522 instructional lettering book, “La Operina da Imparare di scrivere littera Cancellarescha.” This book contains what is considered to be the earliest printed examples of Chancery Cursive.

Rather than try to reproduce a perfect, smooth, type-like version of Ludovico’s hand, which has been attempted in the past, the designer opted to leave in some rough edges and, thereby, create a look that mimics the endearing artifacts of quill and ink lettering on parchment.

2017 History of Graphic Design

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