Graphic Arts | Rare Books and Special Collections | Princeton University Library
Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders and Book Designers    
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Helizabeth de Rusconibus
Italian, active 1527

At left is a single leaf of an edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, printed by Helizabeth de Rusconibus, who continued the family's printing business in Venice after her husband's death. The leaf contains a single, crudely-executed woodcut which illustrates the story of Mercury and Herse from Book 2. Mercury, after hiding Apollo's herd, is flying over the farmlands and woods of Attica, when he sees a procession of young girls on their way to the sanctuary of Minerva. He especially notices the beautiful Herse, one of the daughters of Cecrops, and Mercury descends to earth in the hope of an amorous encounter. Her jealous sister, Aglauros, however, blocks the doorway and will not allow the god to enter. For this -- and because she had previously broken a vow to Athene -- Mercury turned Aglauros into a statue.

Other works in the exhibition:

  • P. Ouidij Metamorphosin cu[mque] Luculentissimis Raphaelis Regij Enarrationibus, Venetiis: Helizabeth de Rusconibus, 1527.


Princeton University Library, Graphic Arts Collection
Rebecca W. Davidson, Curator of Graphic Arts
Tel: (609) 258-3197
Last Modified: February 13, 2004