Divago Festival Public Art Festival + Workshop Genova, Italy

A Catalogue of Punch Symbols was published as a corollary book to the exhibition “Otto scudi e un’oca”, held at the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence between 15 February and 18 April 2024. The project offers an artistic interpretation of the role played by the 18th-century Florentine bookbinder Giuseppe Pagani in the history of the book. An installation illustrates the technique developed by Pagani to decorate books before his working tools, the so-called punzoni or punches, were destroyed by the flood that hit Florence in 1758.


Similar to stamps, punzoni are small hard steel rods engraved with an abbreviation, a letter or a decoration, used to embellish book covers. Pagani made repeated use of punches for the volumes he produced together with the printer Bernardo Paperini for clients all over Europe. A Catalogue of Punch Symbols verifies the technique developed by Pagani for the decoration of his books by printing the ten lozenge punches reproduced for the installation. The heart, leaf, mask, acorn, palm, fruit basket, cherub, and garland punches together with the zoomorphic and floral wheel punches are inked only once and impressed fifteen times to intimate the process whereby traces slowly fade away over time.

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