When I buy books, the vast majority are for the book business. Occasionally, some are destined for our personal library. Every book I find that is about Venice, follows the latter route, for as regular readers of my musings know, I have a love affair with that incredibly unique city. So, imagine my reaction when I saw this!
This was not a book I lifted into my hands, but a box. There must be a book in here, I thought. Look, it is published by Abrams, a premier publisher of high-end illustrated books. It was not easy opening the box. It was uniform and all of the edges were square, but I knew I could do it. I looked at every edge and they were solid, and then I spotted the unjointed edge. I gently pried it open and the cover of the box opened up to reveal its hidden treasure!
A beautifully designed box, indeed, and the book was equally, beautifully designed with high quality print and photo reproductions.
Bellissima Venice, photographs by Michel Setboun, Abrams, New York, 2008. Printed and bound in China. I find that a majority of high-quality art books are now printed in China and they do a great job. My guess is that China is now the largest supplier of printed books in the world. It is all about striving for the lowest cost and highest profits, or a profit! And what we are currently experiencing with the supply chain fiasco is that writers and publishers are facing huge time delays in getting their books printed. Many titles planned for the Christmas season are just not going to appear until well into 2022. The United States has recently committed to bringing manufacturing back home – we’ll see what happens with our favourite objects.
This book was originally published in French under the title “Venise” by Editions de La
Martiniere, Paris, 2008.
And here is Abram’s marketing spiel on this beautiful book – “Venice, with her winding canals and magnificent palaces, has enchanted artists, poets, aristocrats, and visitors for centuries. Turn the pages of this beautifully produced collection of photographs, and it's easy to see why. For the past two hundred years, Venice has remained practically unchanged, a testament to the glorious, singular design of La Serenissima. In stunning full-color photographs, Bellissima Venice presents the city from numerous dramatic perspectives: From panoramic rooftops, unhurried gondolas, and columned palace galleries. From the Piazza San Marco to San Giorgio Maggiore, from the Rialto Bridge to the Bridge of Sighs, from the Grand Canal to snaking water alleyways, Michel Setboun's exquisite images distill the essence of Venice's serenely seductive beauty.”
Here are several examples of the wonderful photographs found in Bellissima Venice!