Why early modern books are so beautiful

The Hortus Sanitatis is a beautiful encyclopedia about the natural world that was published in 1491. It contains chapters on plants, animals, and precious stones. What sets this book apart is not just its content, but its visual appeal. The Hortus Sanitatis is an incunabulum, a book from the infancy of movable type printing. These early printed books were visually stunning, with elaborate dedications, prologues, and indexes. They experimented with different fonts and design elements. The advertisements to readers were particularly intriguing, promising riches and delights of the natural sciences. Overall, early modern books were far more interesting and beautifully designed than modern books.


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