Monday, November 30, 2015

Recent Typeface Design and Calligraphy from Daniel Mitsui

We have much work to do in the rebuilding of Catholic culture, and in this “slow evangelization” (as Stratford Caldecott called it), liturgy can be compared to the right hand, the fine arts to the left hand. I found myself thinking about this when looking at some magnificent calligraphic work by well-known Catholic artist Daniel Mitsui, and reading his superb lecture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, “Invention and Exaltation.” (The text may be read here; a video of the lecture is available here. Highly recommended.) Daniel visited the university to open an exhibit of his artwork in the Gentile Gallery on September 14th.

Following up on my earlier post about the layouts and typography of Dom Benedict Andersen, I wanted to share with NLM readers some of Daniel Mitsui’s recent experiments with designing his own typefaces, a painstaking art form he is pursuing in order to work towards the publication of new illustrated fine press editions of late medieval books. Two of the pieces now on display in Steubenville are typographic broadsides, one of them prepared in anticipation of the Synod on the Family:

(To see these at the artist's website, go here and here.)

In toto, Daniel has designed four typefaces: Benedict, Victor, Adam, and Michaëla. The marriage and family texts above are written in Benedict; the Lord's Prayer in Victor. Here are samples of Adam and Michaëla:


Some time ago Daniel did this "Ecce quam bonum," which is a masterly example of the art of illuminating a text (we see again the Benedict font):

These are truly exquisite pieces of work, and we are all looking forward to many more from this extraordinary artist. Check out his website for a complete portfolio and items for sale.

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