Book Series Studies in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art History, vol. 43

Print Publishing in Sixteenth-Century Rome

Growth and Expansion, Rivalry and Murder

Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe

  • Pages: 469 p.
  • Size:225 x 300 mm
  • Illustrations:320 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2008

  • ISBN: 978-1-905375-14-1
  • Hardback
  • Available


"This indispensable study might slight the roles of artist-designers and of engravers, not to mention their shifting collaborations, but its focus on publishers and on a careful survey of all subjects, regardless of modern favourites or prejudices, makes for documentary history of the most scrupulous and enduring kind." (Larry Silver, in The Art Book 17/2, May 2010, p. 34)

"Witcombe's timely and welcome study provides a rigorous and fascinating account of print publishing in sixteenth-century Rome that is attentive both to detail and to the broader commercial structures driving its existence. It will provide the basis for further studies of the subject. The outcome of years of fruitful research, the author's findings are served well by the publisher through an elegant layout and copious and legible illustrations." (in: The Library, 7.11.1, March 2010, p. 111)


This volume brings formal coherence to the overwhelming mass of prints published in sixteenth-century Rome. It is introductory in scope and does not attempt to include every print published by every publisher. The aim is to provide an overview of who was publishing what prints and when over the course of the sixteenth century. The five chapters provide an outline of the history of print publishing while the appendices serve to clarify chronologies and reveal groupings and patterns. A document central to this book deserves some comment. The record of the hearing into the murder of Gerolamo da Modena provided an opportunity to meet a number of the publishers, printers, and engravers at work in Rome in the decades after the mid-century and to understand better their lives, activities, and relationships.

Winner of the IFPDA Book Award 2009

Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe is Professor at the Department of Art History, Sweet Briar College, Virginia, USA. His primary area of research is Italian Renaissance art with a special interest in 16th-century Italian prints.