Every Paperblanks® book is inspired by world art and culture, by traditional craft and practice, and by visionaries, rebels and artists across the ages. Behind the Cover is a blog series about the origins of our designs.
The gold-tooled red goatskin book cover that has inspired our Baroque Ventaglio Rosso design is a classic example of a ventaglio (“fan”) binding. This technique, popular in Italy beginning from the middle of the fifteenth century, suggests a fusion between the Roman-Gothic elements of the time with Arab mudejar art. The geometric compositions, circles, diamonds, crosstrees and knots of this latter style have been created in the gold foiled decorative motif so popular in Italy during this artistic period.
By the end of the sixteenth century such decorations were so popular that the classic frames and negative spaces of Renaissance bindings were almost entirely replaced with this all-covering decoration. It wasn’t until the seventeenth century, from when this Roman binding originates, that the a ventaglio style was fully incorporated as a key element of Baroque artwork. The Baroque period is characterised by passion and grandeur, and the exuberance of the time is nicely tempered with the classical a ventaglio elements used to great effect here. One can see the Eastern influence in the corner filigreed fan which surrounds a quartered rose window.
A few years ago we visited the Restoration Workshop at the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milan, Italy. We marvelled at the nearly 1500 antique manuscripts that found their home at the library and enjoyed an exhibit curated by famed bookbinder Federico Macchi celebrating six centuries of European bindings. This particular binding, a cover design for Pierre Vidoué Paris’ Horae beatea Virginis Mariae, stood out and we knew it would make a fabulous addition to our Paperblanks® collection. The name Rosso, meaning “red” in Italian, highlights the sumptuous background colour of the binding and pays tribute to our trip to Italy that led to its discovery.
About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks®, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks®, go to our website at paperblanks.com.