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The book

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Introducing: the best italic manual of all time
La Operina is a slim volume of 32 pages. It is still essential reading.

The book is dated 1522, but probably published in 1524, as A.S. Osley suggests in Scribes and Sources (Faber and Faber, London 1980.)

Arrighi’s Operina

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T he author was a copyist, papal scribe, publisher and type designer. He called himself Ludovico Vicentino, and wrote the name eight times into his short text. Yet we know him as Arrighi, a name that appears nowhere in the book.

La Operina shows great handwriting on every page. It is more than a set of model sheets, however. It describes Arrighi’s underlying forms and two basic entry movements. It covers the spacing of lines, words and letters. It deals with slant and joins.

Each page was printed from a separate woodcut by Ugo da Carpi, who is best known as a master of chiaroscuro engraving.