Book design at the Officina Plantiniana and beyond: Forms, models and influences

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE organized by the Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris) and Cultura Fonds (De Eik nv, Dilbeek), in collaboration with the Museum Plantin-Moretus (Antwerp)

Paris, 17-18 November 2021 (Bibliothèque Mazarine)



Bibliothèque Mazarine and Cultura Fonds (De Eik nv, Dilbeek), in collaboration with the Museum Plantin-Moretus (Antwerp), celebrate the fifth century of the birth of Christophe Plantin (c. 1520–1589) with an international conference and an exhibition. The aim of the conference is to take into account recent scholarship about the activity and the production of the Officina Plantiniana and contemporary workshops, with regard to three issues:

  • Typography and book design. How did the physical features of printed editions evolve in the period 1550–1650, as well as in the output of the Officina Plantiniana as in other European workshops? Is the transition from Renaissance to Baroque concepts of book design marked by geographical variation?
  • Influence: Which printers/publishers have had an influence on Christophe Plantin and his successors, the Moretuses, in their book design? And how, in turn, has the book design developed and applied by the Officina Plantiniana, influenced the output of European workshops?
  • The brand. Both the printer’s device and motto of the Officina Plantiniana, hall-marks of excellent typography, had acquired such a solid reputation that they rapidly have been exploited by third parties, also for the production of counterfeits. When, by whom and why has this much sought after brand been used?


Wednesday, 17 November 2021, 13:3018:00

  • 13:30 : Welcome of participants
  • 14:00 : Opening of the colloquium: Typographic expediency and seduction, the first century of the Officina Plantiniana / Yann SORDET (Bibliothèque Mazarine)


Chair: Christine BENEVENT (École nationale des chartes, Paris)

  • 14:30-15:00 : Christophe Plantin, un itinéraire / Christophe VELLET (Bibliothèque Mazarine)
  • 15:00-15:30 : A typographical shift from Renaissance to Baroque / Joran PROOT (Cultura Fonds)
  • 15:30-16:00 : Les enjeux économiques du choix du format bibliographique et du papier dans la politique éditoriale de Christophe Plantin (1555–1589) / Renaud MILAZZO (EMoBookTrade project)
  • 16:00-16:30 : Q&A & break
  • 16:30-17:00 : From Arnold Nicolai to Maarten de Vos: book illustration at the officina Plantiniana / Dirk IMHOF (Museum Plantin-Moretus)
  • 17:00-17:30 : Plantin on the page: The format and visual presence of Plantin’s music publications / Louisa HUNTER-BRADLEY (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • 17:30-18:00 : Q&A


Thursday 18 November 2021, 9:00–18:00


9:00: Reception of the participants

Chair: Thierry CLAERR (France, Ministère de la culture, Centre Jean-Mabillon)

  • 9:30-10:00 : Christophe Plantin imprimeur-libraire en musique : des audaces typographiques aux marchés européens / Laurent GUILLO (Versailles, Centre de Musique baroque).
  • 10:00-10:30 : Reliures exécutées par l’officine plantinienne pour le cardinal de Granvelle / Fabienne LE BARS (BnF)
  • 10:30-11:00 : Q&A & break
  • 11:00-11:30 : Benchmarking the Missale Romanum. The 1640 folio editions of the Officina Plantiniana and Jan van Meurs / Kristof SELLESLACH (Museum Plantin-Moretus)
  • 11:30-12:00 : In Antverpiae: False Imprints, Pious Branding and the Officina Plantiniana in the Dutch Catholic Book Trade, 1579–1700 / Elise WATSON (University of St Andrews)
  • 12:00-12:30 : Q&A


Chair: Malcolm WALSBY (ENSSIB)

  • 14:00-14:30 : Le compas et la licorne. Réussites parallèles de Christophe Plantin et de Jacques Kerver dans les arts du livre au XVIe siècle / Thierry CLAERR (France, Ministère de la culture, Centre Jean-Mabillon)
  • 14:30-15:00 : Abel L’Angelier et le modèle de Plantin / Jean BALSAMO (Université de Reims)
  • 15:00-15:30 : From Antwerp to Krakow or how the designs of late 16th-century Polish books were influenced by the Officina Plantiniana / Magdalena KOMOROWSKA (Jagiellonian University, Krakow)
  • 15:30-16:00 : Q&A & break
  • 16:00-16:30 : Description of Journey to Jerusalem by Radvila Našlaitėlis: Publishing and Illustrations / Jolita LIŠKEVIČIENĖ (Vilnius Academy of Arts)
  • 16:30-17:00 : Research into the Officina Plantiniana since the publication of The Golden Compasses by Leon Voet: a 50th anniversary overview / Johan HANSELAER (KH Sint-Lucas, Ghent).
  • 17:00-17:30 : « The Golden Compasses » and the current publishing activities at the Officina Plantiniana (2020–2021)
  • 17:30-18:00 : Q&A

18:30 : Inauguration of the exhibition A century of typographical excellence (19 November 2021 - 19 February 2022)


Scholarly committee

Christine Bénévent (École nationale des chartes, Paris); Diane Cuny (Centre d'Études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours); Dirk Imhof (Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp); Renaud Milazzo (EMoBookTrade project, Università di Milano); Angela Nuovo (EMoBookTrade project, Università di Milano); Joran Proot (Cultura Fonds, Dilbeek; EMoBookTrade project, Università di Milano); Yann Sordet (Bibliothèque Mazarine; Centre Jean-Mabillon); Christophe Vellet (Bibliothèque Mazarine; Centre Jean-Mabillon). 


Registration for the colloquium is mandatory but free of charge ; presentation of Green Pass (covid certificate) required.


In regard of the plan Vigipirate/attacks, the entrance with suitcases or voluminous bags will not be accepted. Thank you for your understanding.




    logo large 600pp     logo de eik       EncCJM logo H 31 59mm RVB        LogoPLANTINMORETUS   minerve trait