Society for Calligraphy, Southern California

Formal Italic of the Renaissance


Wednesday, November 15

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday, November 16

10:00 am - 5:00 pm


What are these styles? What are the differences? How can we use them to inform our own work? What we now call Formal Italic started to develop in the Renaissance as a mix of formal Roman book hands and handwriting, further developed into major closely related formal styles, Formata and Corsiva, marked by frequent pen lifts and sharp thick/thin contrast. Lucas’ elegant Bastarda Grande is also closely related. Different Renaissance scribes also displayed other style variations. We will study Renaissance writing masters including Arrighi, Cataneo and Francisco Lucas, and compare differences between their owing original wri ng and angular woodcut reproductions. We will look at how formal italic styles developed after that, how certain archaic shapes went out of use. Julian will also show pages from his rare 1579 book by Cresci, whose Cancellaresco Corsivo was a radical departure from his contemporaries, starting the trend toward more swelled strokes by increasingly flexible pointed writing tools. As with all historical study, we will learn fundamental concepts of form and spacing and how to modernize for personal use. Along the way, Julian will add his extensive knowledge, flair, subtlety, elegance and fine taste to the mix.

Other Info

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Member-Only Workshop


Julian Waters


SfC sponsored


Joan Bechtel


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MuzeO Museum & Cultural Arts Center

Carnegie Building, 241 South Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim (Classroom is in the basement)

Map of Location