500 years of graphic production

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My family’s genealogy can be traced back to the 15th century the year 900. Our most famous ancestor in direct line being Christoph Froschauer (his name is on our crest), creator of the Froschauer Bible, a masterpiece of printing at the time. I like the thought of me – 500 years later – upholding ‘the trade’ as a graphic designer. I finally got a hold of his original signet in a proper resolution, and modified it by changing his name and city to my own – and voila, there’s my new tattoo.

According to Wikipedia:
Christoph Froschauer (ca. 1490 — 1 April 1564) was the first printer in Zürich, notably for printing the Froschauer Bible, the Zwinglian Bible translation. His workshop is the nucleus of the Orell Füssli publishing house.

He learned the printer’s trade with his uncle, Hans Froschauer, in Augsburg and came to Zürich in 1515. Working for one Hans Rüegger, he built a printing press. At Rüegger’s death in 1517, Froschauer married his widow and took over the press, and given citizenship in 1519. Dispute over a “sausage eating” organised by Froschauer in his workshop during lent in 1522 brought about open conflict between Zwingli and the clerical establishment, thus setting off the Reformation in Switzerland. At his wife’s death in 1550, he married Dorothea Locher.

The Froschau quarter of Zürich, just off the current Froschaugasse, is named for Froschauer. The historical workshop was at the northern boundary of the Froschau, facing the Zähringerplatz.

He printed the works of Erasmus von Rotterdam, Luther and notably of Zwingli. Between 1520 and 1564, about 700 titles in close to a million copies left Froschauer’s four presses. The paper used was produced in the city’s paper mill at the Limmat, also operated by Froschauer. Froschauer died of the plague in 1564.

I especially like the part where his ’sausage eating contest’ started off the Swiss Reformation… The Froschauer Bible, containing more than 200 illustrations, became notable as a masterpiece of printing at the time. I found one at an auction valued at $50.000,-. Read more about the Froschauer bible on Wikipedia.


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