This pane depicts what is commonly known as the “Infant Hercules.” This was the device of Erhardus Ratdolt, one of the earliest and perhaps the first Venetian printer to adopt a mark. He is credited with inventing ink of a golden color and was the first to employ flourishes or initial letters formed of floral schools and ornaments borrowed from Italian manuscript. Ratdolt’s device, the “Infant Hercules,” was intended to depict the Roman god Mercury holding entwined serpents, the equivalent of the caduceus, the staff held by Hermes the Greek god which is commonly seen in reference to medicine and healing. The star in the front of the body indicates a planet.
In Ratdolt’s Kalendarium, 1476, the earliest known examples of a first page containing the title of the book and the place and year of its publication are present. In short, these are all of the elements of a modern day title page.
The stained glass panel highlighted here once hung in the windows of Kent Library when it was originally installed in 1939. In 1968, the panes were placed into walnut frames and displayed on the mezzanine level of the renovated library until 2007 when they were removed for safety during library remodeling.