When the book is a work of art The codices commissioned from the foremost exponents of the ars illuminandi by the great Italian families such as the Estensi, the Visconti, the Sforza, the Medici, the Farnese are revived in all their splendour in the facsimile editions published by Franco Cosimo Panini Editore.

The making of the facsimiles The creation of the facsimiles is a fusion of sophisticated image-elaboration technology with the most traditional craftsman’s techniques, giving rise to the same sense of magic as is felt in the presence of the original. Before it is reproduced the manuscript is generally unbound so that experts can assess its state of conservation and carry out any necessary restoration. The photographing takes place in the same climate-controlled environment where the codex is conserved. The latest techniques are used for the  separation of the colour, a necessary operation prior to printing. Accurate image-elaboration is carried out by hand, and the matrices for the gold and the colour printing of the individual pages are created. Next, the technicians carefully compare the colour proofs with the original, page by page. This initial phase is followed by repeated checking and correcting. The printing is done by offset-litho on best quality paper, with very high resolution so that the reader can use a magnifying glass without encountering the irritating dots commonly found in ordinary printing. Gold is applied in powder or leaf form. The pages are individually punch-cut so that the irregular edges are recreated.

The binding is carried out by hand in craftsmen’s workshops, with the signatures exactly matching those of the original. The covers are made with materials that resemble the original ones as closely as possible: wood is used for the boards, which are then covered with fabric or metal, sometimes precious metal.

All the volumes in the Impossible Library series are issued in strictly limited editions and are certified as such by the publisher.  Some of them, especially the first ones in the series, may therefore be out of print and can be obtained neither from the publisher nor from book shops. However, to satisfy the requirements of collectors, the publisher has kept a few copies of the out-of-print volumes which will be made available to those who purchase the entire series.

General characteristics of the facsimile editions published by Franco Cosimo Panini Editore

• Limited editions for worldwide distribution • Reproduction of gold and silver leaf applied hot, and then aged and worked in relief • Binding carried out by hand, with boards decorated with medallions, corners and clasps in fine metals • Edges of the pages individually cut • Specially made slip case • Volume of commentary


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