Ludovico Vincentino degli Arrighi

Type specimen: Ludovico degli Arrighi
Type specimen and printed picture by Ludovico degli Arrighi for a publication by Tolomeo Janiculo from 1529
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Ludovico Vincentino degli Arrighi

A writer of Papal documents

Arrighi’s contemporaries were lucky enough to have the chance to admire his works in their original written form. Very few of his hand-written manuscripts still exist today but the highly valuable editions that have survived afford an insight into the elegance of his Cancellaresca script.

Axel Bertram, Das wohltemperierte Alphabet (The Well-tempered Alphabet), 2004

Ludovico degli Arrighi hailed from the Italian city of Vincenza, which gave rise to his now commonly-used sobriquet of “Vincentino”. Very little is known about the circumstances of his life. Due to the fact that he repeatedly referred to himself as a “scrittore di brevi apostolici” (a scribe for Papal documents), it is fair to assume he spent several years in the service of the Vatican. The significance of his work in the field of typography is mainly based on the influence of his handwriting pamphlets La Operina (published in 1522) and Il modo de temperare le penne (1523) in which he produced the first printed templates of his own calligraphic handwriting styles.

By implementing precise technical and formal guidelines, Arrighi achieved a level of faithfulness to an original template that was hitherto unseen in his field. He used his clearly legible adaptation of the then-widespread Cancellaresca italica script in a total of 24 books which stand as a significant historical milestone in the transition from italic typefaces to Claude Garamond’s famous Antiqua script. Nothing is known of Arrighi beyond the year 1527. It is likely that he fell victim to the invading French troops of Franz I in Rome.