Epistole Devotissime de Sancto Catharina da Siena
Today marks the birth in 1347 of St. Catherine of Siena, one of Italy’s two patron saints. Catherine is remembered both for her influence in Italian religion and politics as well as for her mystical writings.
Nearly 400 of Catherine’s letters have survived. Two partial editions of her works were printed in the 1490s, but the first complete edition of her letters was printed by Aldus Manutius in 1500. Aldus published the Epistole Devotissime de Sancto Catharina da Siena at the behest of Margherita Ugelheimer, the widow of a former partner of Nicolas Jenson, who like Aldus was a renowned Venetian printer. The book is famed for the first appearance of Aldus’ Italic type: a few letters were used in the full-page woodcut portrait of Catherine, shown here. More images from BYU’s copy of the Epistole Devotissime can be seen at the online exhibit IN AEDIBVS ALDI: The Legacy of Aldus Manutius and His Press.