Lecture: Anna Gialdini, Negotiating "Greekness" in Early Modern Italian Book Production.
In the mid-fifteenth century, as Italian book collectors began being exposed to Byzantine codices, the bindings of the latter started being imitated in Florence and Venice. The resulting bindings were often hybrid, since they mixed Western and Byzantine techniques, but also distinctly and deliberately "Greek-looking"; they were called "alla greca" and were sought-after for the messages they conveyed: an association with Greek culture; a refined taste for beautifully-bound books; and the appropriation of the Byzantine legacy.
My paper today looks at some aspects of the production and consumption of "alla greca" bookbindings in early modern Italy, and namely the ethnicity of bookbinders and patrons, bookmaking techniques, and collecting practices, and what they tell us about the intellectual milieux in which the books themselves circulated.
About the speaker:
Anna Gialdini has a BA and MA in Classics from the University of Milan and a Diploma in Archival Studies from the State Archive of Milan. She has recently submitted her PhD thesis on Greek-style Bookbindings in Renaissance Venice, which constitutes an analysis of these objects from a structural and cultural perspective. Her research, which has been supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Fondazione Fedrigoni – Istocarta, and the Bibliographical Society of America, also deals with archival bindings, the social history of bookbinders, cross-cultural contact in the early modern Mediterranean, and the materiality of the book in professional contexts. After a short-term fellowship at the Huntington Library, she is now collaborating with the Public Library and Groeningemuseum in Bruges for an exhibition on Colard Mansion and the printing of incunables in the city.