Matthias Buchinger, sometimes called Matthew Buckinger, described himself as "the wonderful Little Man of but 29 inches high, born without Hands, Feet, or Thighs." Despite being born (in Germany in 1674) with limbs "more resembling fins of a fish than arms of a man," he was renowned for his works as a calligrapher and micrographer (remarked for details illustrated in psalms written in characters of different sizes), builder of whimsey bottles (the oldest known "mining bottle"), and called the most extraordinary conjurer of all time. People may have initially gathered to see a tragedy, but instead were presented with an astounding range of impressive skills. [more inside]
Typography design and illustration is still an active artform, and you can get an idea of the skills at play by looking at two rather different young penmen: Seb Lester (previously) and Jake Weidmann. While both started as self-taught artists, Seb designs fonts and draws free-hand typographic art pieces with no formal education in type design, while Jake mentored under calligrapher to the White House, Rick Muffler, and is the youngest of the 14 Master Penmen (one of the few programs where inductees must craft their own certificates). As an introduction to the craft and these artists, here's more of Seb Lester and his craft, and an interview with Master Penman Jake Weidmann, with displays of his works. [more inside]
Since 1933, the Cambridge University Library has had a pristine copy of Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu, the Ten Bamboo Studio collection of calligraphy and painting from 1633. Because the book was so fragile, the butterfly bound (Google books preview) manual for teachers of art and writing was not opened until it could be properly digitized. That day has come, and the entire book is online, giving the world a view of “the earliest and the most beautiful example of multicolor printing anywhere in the world,” according to Charles Aylmer, head of the Chinese department at Cambridge University Library. [more inside]
Islamic Geometric — Shakil Akram Khan has taken the ancient art of Islamic calligraphic decoration to a whole new place.
Seb Lester is an astonishing calligrapher and graphic designer. In this clip, he freehands a number of famous logos... [more inside]
Glen Weisgerber is a pinstriper letterer for custom bikes, cars etc - Single Stroke Lettering Demo, Roundhand Lettering Demo, Jersey Style Chrome Lettering Demo
Launched just last week, Calligraphica is the new Tumblr home for calligraphy and hand-drawn type. While you're at it, check out their sister site, Typeverything.
''Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains'' is the greatest surviving masterpiece by Huang Gongwang (黄公望 1269-1354), one of the Four Yuan Masters; considered one of the finest of all Chinese paintings, it served as a model and inspiration for many subsequent literati artists. The scroll suffered fire damage in the early Qing and was divided into two parts. This summer, a special exhibition at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan reunited these two portions of Huang's masterwork for the first time in 360 years.
The last hand-written newspaper in the world - A brief film about The Musalman, which has been penned in Urdu calligraphy every day since 1927. via CreativeRoots [more inside]
Custom Letters is an evolving category that includes calligraphy, sign painting, graffiti, stone carving, digital lettering, hand lettering, paper sculpture, and type design.
Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy from the collection of The Library of Congress. 373 individual pieces from ranging in time from the 9th to the 19th Century, all explained and some translated. A few personal favorites (note that very high quality scans can be viewed by clicking the appropriate link after clicking thumbnail): marriage decree, verses on tragic love, practice sheet, verses 10-11 of the 48th chapter of the Qur'an, poetic verses offering advice, frontispiece of Qur'anic exegesis and quatrain by Rumi. There are also four special presentations: Calligraphers of the Persian Tradition, Ottoman Calligraphers and Their Works, Qur’anic Fragments and Noteworthy Items. This last presentation also features representational art, for instance images of The battle of Mazandaran and the Persian king Bahram Gur hunting.
Famed Arabic calligrapher Khalil al-Zahawi murdered. (Arabic: خليل الزهاوي; 1946 - 25 May 2007) Khalil al-Zahawi was the most famous practitioner in Iraq of the art of writing classical Arabic script. He was shot to death Friday as he left his home.
The new 'Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean' site incorporates material from 14 countries through 18 exhibition sites that explore the the cultural and artistic heritage of Islamic dynasties spanning 1200 years. [via].
Caligraft - computational calligraphy.
According to Persian mythology, God is a painter who has painted the world with his kelk. More Persian calligraphy here.
Illuminated manuscripts are truly a joy to behold. And there are a remarkable number of them available on the web for your viewing pleasure. The most famous illuminated MS is the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. For galleries with multiple images, try the resources at DScriptorium, Web Gallery of Art, and the Leaves of Gold exhibition. Elyse Boucher's page is a work-in-progress detailing the history and methods of illuminating books, with both images and secondary sources; see also Sue Wood's Art and Books page.