“A Parisian in Venice”

Per Pietro Deuchino “parisiensis, impressor librorum et fusor characterum”

  • Ilaria Andreoli (Autor/in)


During the last years of the 16th c. the Venetian printing industry was still one of the major economic sectorsin the city, but production had dwindled to levels inferior to those of the middle years of the century because of the intellectual and moral crisis of the Republic, of the complete re-haul of the editorial geography of Europe, in which Venice ceased to be a capital, and of the repressive policy of the Counter Reformation. Printers and booksellers tried to react with the creation, in 1549, of the Corporazione or Università degli stampatori e librari. But the narrow-mindedness and restrictive policies of the corporation, that denied to non-members the right to exercize their trade and imposed strict rules on the activity of members, just worsened the plight of the industry. Among the many minor printers that were still active in Venice during the second half of the century, Pietro Deuchino, who was mainly a typecaster, would have remained in the shadows of history but for an anonymous denunciation accusing him of heretical behaviour and of possession of books listed in the index librorum prohibitorum, which led him to be tried by the Holy Office. Thanks to the pressing demands of the inquisitors when they interrogated Pietro and a great number of witnesses, I was able to piece together the career of a member of the booktrade who worked in France and Switzerland before settling in Italy, as well as his original voice “from the bottom” about the religious conflict that raged in Venice, as in the rest of Europe, during the second half of the century. I established for the first time a check-list of the 46 titles that Deuchino printed in Venice between 1570 and 1581, for himself or for other booksellers, and used it to complement the indications of the archival document. It is published here as an appendix.