Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Written by Francesco Colonna (Italian, ca. 1453–1517)
Published by Aldo Manuzio (Italian, 1449/50–1515)
Design of woodcuts attributed to Benedetto Bordone (Italian, Padua ca. 1455/60–1530 Padua, active mainly Venice from 1488)
Published in:
December 1499
11 5/8 × 8 11/16 × 1 9/16 in. (29.5 × 22 × 4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1923
Accession Number:
Not on view
This exquisite book, a complex tale of love and antiquarianism and a prime document of the Renaissance rediscovery of classical antiquity, was produced by the important Venetian publisher Aldus Manutius (ca. 1450–1515). A specialist in the publication of Greek texts, Aldus was also famous for developing new formats, such as the small, handheld book, and new typefaces, such as the italic, the descendants of which are still in use today. The typeface used in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, based on ancient Roman inscriptions, was created by Aldus' type designer Francesco Griffo of Bologna especially for this book, which has long been admired for its harmonious marriage of text and image. The spare and elegant illustrations reveal a careful study of ancient art as well as an interest in the new science of one-point linear perspective. The beauty of these anonymous woodcuts has led scholars, through the years, to associate their design with such famous artists as Andrea Mantegna, Gentile Bellini, or the young Raphael.
J. Pierpont Morgan; Donor: J. Pierpont Morgan
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," December 4, 1992–April 5, 2013.

Essling.1198; Morgan cat.II.373; Brunet.IV.778; Hain.5501; Proctor.5574
Jean Strouse, The Metropolitan Museum of Art "Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin" J. Pierpont Morgan, Financier and Collector. n.s., 57, no. 3, New York, Winter 2000, fig. no. 2, p. 5, ill.

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