FANTI, Sigismondo
(active 1510-1530 in Ferrara)


Italian architect, astrologer, mathematician, and writing-master from Ferrara. In 1514 he published Theorica et Practica de modo scribendi fabricandique omnes litterarum species (Venice: Giovanni Rosso, 1514). This was the first illustrated manual on the art of writing, and the first book illustrated with calligraphic models of the alphabet. It provided practical advice on selecting implements, making ink, on the correct way of holding the pen, and on spacing letters.

The Triompho di Fortuna (Triumph of Fortune) was published in Venice in 1526. The title describes the Triumph as "discussing the accidents of the world on the basis of natural science as well as astrology, faithfully exposed by Mercurio Vannullo from Rome. A most useful and playful work". The book answers to 72 pre-defined questions. The answers are found on the basis of the hour in which the question was asked or by throwing two dice. Each of the answers includes three complementary elements: 1. An astrological chart 2. A small engraving 3. Four verses.

In 1535, Fanti published the penmanship book Thesauro de scrittori (Thesaurus of Writers). He published this work so that secretaries, copyists, merchants, and artisans could learn techniques of applying geometry to the construction of letterforms.