<< < | > >>




Art, the quality, production, expression or realm, according to aesthetic principles of that which is beautiful, appealing or of extraordinary significance. Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing. Typography, the craft (or art) of setting type to enhance the text. Printing, the art preservative of all arts. And so we come full circle, without having mentioned lettering.
..... Lettering, is the creation of letterforms through means of drawing as opposed to writing. Lettering art, is an old term for the commercial application or practice of such, esp. when using the tools of the craft of graphic design.

 Lettering Art  


Can lettering be art? 

Many in the world of fine art deny this---commercial art is the craft of graphic design, and the inclusion of letterforms beyond an artist's signature has often been seen to preclude a work's consideration as art. H.W. Janson devotes two pages to the discussion of The Column of Trajan in his, History of Art, a standard text for art history courses, with no mention of the importance ascribed to the letterforms of its inscription, despite extensive writings on this.
..... Most notably, Fra. Edward Catich explained the relationship of writing to inscriptional letterforms in his classic, The Origin of the Serif.


 Cover art
Is beautiful writing art? 

One would think so, and yet the exhibit, 2,000 Years of Calligraphy, a three-part exhibition organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Peabody Institute Library and the Walters Art Gallery was not viewed favourably by some members of the staff of at least one institution. Interestingly, many of the works exhibited were from American collectors, notwithstanding two pieces graciously lent by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
..... Attitudes are quite different in other parts of the world, with the Far East regarding calligraphy as the highest form of art, and a painting without an inscription by the artist as incomplete---indeed successive inscriptions by skilled calligraphers are considered to enhance a work.

Art | Books | Calligraphy | Graphic Design | Printing | Typography

<< < | > >>

 Copyright 2003 William F. Adams 
last updated 31 July 2003