>Early Venetian printing forms one of the most distinguished chapters in the whole history of the subject. The most famous of the first generation was Nicolas Jenson, a Frenchman who had learned the art in Germany. Between 1470 and his death in 1480 he printed many fine books, and in most of them he employed what is now called roman type. He was not absolutely the first to use the roman alphabet, but his roman fonts were designed and cast with such artistic taste, such a fine sense of proportion and symmetry of form, that the Jenson roman became the model of later printers for many years after his death. Roman type, unlike the black-letter, had two distinct origins. The capitals were derived from the letters used by the ancient Roman architects for inscriptions on public buildings. The small letters were adapted from the rounded vertical style of writing used in many Italian texts, altogether different in form from the angular gothic alphabet used in ecclesiastical manuscripts. Jenson's roman letters were cle
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