Monday, January 8, 2018

The Origin of the Serif-50th Anniversary Year!

Father Catich working on broadside,
with Origin copies wrapped for shipping, 1968.
This is the 50th Anniversary Year for the publication of The Origin of the Serif by Father Edward Michael Catich.

This heavily researched work presented an idea that revolutionized the accepted conclusions on lettering that had dominated the fields of Calligraphy, Paleography, and Epigraphy for the 2000 years preceding the publication of the book.

Father Catich, trained as a sign painter in Chicago during the first quarter of the 20th century, determined that our Roman alphabet originated from letters being painted on stone prior to carving.  He stressed that the brush, preceding the stone carver's chisel, produced the serif on the letters. The serif is the short cross stroke at the beginning and end of letter parts.

His research defined the brush as the tool that influenced the structure of the Imperial letter, not the chisel.  The Origin of the Serif proposed an entirely new approach to the history, lineage, and development of the Roman alphabet. In the text Catich addresses other accepted beliefs regarding the formation of the Roman alphabet and clearly illustrates why they are incorrect.

Father hand painting the cast.

Father researched the material for the book, starting when he was a seminarian in Rome, returning years later to continue his studies on The Trajan Inscription, creating the only direct cast made in modern history of this inscription.
In the brochure "The Trajan Inscription in Chicago," by The Lakeside Press, Father discusses the method to make the cast.

"With the help of Italian workmen, we made sectional negatives of the inscription using argillar Greca, a siena-colored, tenacious, and firm molding clay. We net assembled these negative section and made a plaster positive of the complete inscription. From this positive, we made a mold for the polyester cast."

Click HERE for information
about The JB Young Center
The Art Legacy League is marking this 50th Anniversary of the publication of The Origin of the Serif with the launching of workshops, classes, open studio events, exhibitions and lectures to be held in our new permanent headquarters in the JB Young Opportunity Center in Davenport, Iowa.

Within this facility we will have our new "Home Room" which will house original Catich works, teaching materials, and provide studio space for "Open Studio" drop in sessions scheduled for later this year.

Our new Home Room space has flat files filled with original Catich work, reproductions, and calligraphy guides.

We have real slate chalkboards for classroom instruction and are building a reference library for Home Room Use!

In addition to our new"Home Room" space, we will have classroom and large event space available for teaching weekend workshops, weekly classes and offering lectures and other public events that promote calligraphy, book arts and the Catich Method for studio art instruction and calligraphic handwriting.

Paul Herrera, Chairman of the Board of Directors, is very excited about the new permanent home for The ALL. He says, "Having a permanent home for our group, for the courses offered by The CATFISH Letter Arts School, and a gathering place for those interested in a calligraphy and book arts has been a dream of ours for many years. We are thrilled to have our "Home Room" open."

The Art Legacy League will be announcing their full schedule or classes, workshops and events to celebreate the 50th Anniversary of the publication of The Origin of the Serif in the coming weeks.

Stay Tuned!

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