Printing R-Evolution 1450-1500
The fifty years that changed Europe
This exhibition documents the impact of the printing revolution on the economic and social development of early modern Europe. A journey of discovery which uses digital tools and innovative methods of communication to present in an accessible way tens of thousands of data collected by a large international network – coordinated by the project 15cBOOKTRADE at the University of Oxford – over the course of years of rigorous research. The exhibition highlights how, already by the year 1500, millions of books circulated in Europe, not only for the elite, as often claimed, but for everyone, including a large production of schoolbooks. In those first decades printing coincided with experimentation and enterprise.
Printed books were the product of a new collaboration between various sectors of society: knowledge, technology, and commerce, with ideas spreading widely and quickly as never before.
We are now able to trace their dissemination by following the movement and use of the books themselves. The Church immediately understood the invention’s enormous potential and became its early promoter. The printing evolution is one of the cornerstones of European identity because it stands for wide-spread literacy, the pursuit of knowledge, and the formation of a shared cultural heritage. Curated by Cristina Dondi (Lincoln College, Oxford), director of the project funded by the European Research Council, the exhibition encourages reflection on interdisciplinary and international collaboration (humanities and technology, universities and cultural heritage institutions), on the impact of ERC projects on society, and on the role of Oxford’s international research in Europe and the world.