From the Mira calligraphiae monumenta of Rudolf II by master calligrapher Georg Bocksay, 1561-62.
The art of writing flourished in the 16th century as a result of the rise of printing, which freed writing from its main function, the preservation of knowledge. No longer required to be strictly the material representation of text, the art of calligraphy came into being as a means of self-expression. Renaissance humanist ideals also the encouraged the mastery of script as an essential accomplishment for an educated person. The spread of writing led to more variety in styles that reflect the personality of the writer. Calligraphy was elevated to the status of fine art. Sadly this is almost a lost art today as most of us write on computers.