The Ivanovo Hall of the Russian State Library will host unique exhibition dedicated to the Bible, published in the middle of the 15th century in Mainz by Johannes Gutenberg, is a book from which the history of typography begins.
Visitors to the exhibition will have the rarest opportunity to get acquainted with the legendary artifact, the existence of which everyone knows, but only a few could see it with their own eyes.
Just as today the Internet and the “figure” are changing the format and rhythm of relations between people, in the 15th century the print press changed the world and became one of the cornerstones of the new society. An effective means has emerged for the approval of new ideas, the formation of a way of thinking, and the dissemination of information. The news market has become unthinkable without printing houses: Europe has learned about the discovery of America from print media.
An extensive collection of rare books of the RSL makes it possible not only to show one of the most valuable in the world, printed on parchment and decorated by hand, a copy of Gutenberg’s Bible, but also to place it in a historical context, presenting other rare incunabula and paleotypes. Sections of the exhibition will be devoted to various phenomena associated with typography. It will also be about the essence of Gutenberg's invention, and how the printed book has acquired for a century the features that we are used to today and without whom we do not think of a modern book. An important role in the appearance of the new look of the book was played by engraved illustrations. The largest masters took part in their creation, among whom was Albrecht Durer. Sheets of the famous Apocalypse series, conceived by Dürer as the “Big Book”, will appear before the viewer.
The history of typography begins in a symbolic act - the creation of the Bible by Gutenberg, the Book of Books. But before it and next to it, textbooks of the Latin language, the so-called donates, texts of prayers, indulgences and even leaflets were published from under the printed press telling how to distinguish counterfeit coins from real ones. These artifacts, too, there is a place in the windows.
Typography is becoming a powerful weapon in the hands of new rulers of thoughts, those who fought for the spiritual renewal of Europe. The Reformation section of the exhibition shows how effective a printed word can be. The Bible testifies to this no longer in Latin, but in German dialects that appeared in the late 15th century, the Martin Luther Bible in German, which was published in the first half of the 16th century, numerous pamphlets, polemical publications of both Protestants and Catholics, the first translations Quran. According to a contemporary, typography came out of Germany like a Trojan horse to go everywhere. Printed presses are distributed throughout Europe at the speed of a forest fire. The repertoire of books in different languages is rapidly expanding. A trip to the European printing houses, in which the exhibition's creators invite visitors, will end in Venice, at the printing house of Alda Manutia.
The story of the information revolution of the 15th century is especially relevant now that we are experiencing a new information revolution, and the paper book, which for many centuries has remained the only format for the preservation of human memory, coexists with the rapidly growing digital knowledge and electronic access formats. And the process of creating and printing books has changed so much that the modern paper book looks only like the books of the 15th and 16th centuries, as the first incunabula once looked like manuscripts.
The exhibition will only last two months, but kept in RSL Gutenberg's copy of the Bible will be digitized - and everyone will have access to it, and the exposition will be the impetus for a serious professional conversation about the value and fate of a printed book in the modern world.
More interesting information about the exhibition on the website Arthive.