Ex libris is a Latin phrase that can be translated as "from books", which generally indicates a mark used to prove the ownership of a book. The history of the ex libris is as old as the books, already in medieval manuscripts it is possible to find writings attesting the identity of the owner or warnings to those who did not return the borrowed books.
In the 15th century, with the invention of movable type printing, the ex libris became an illustrated slip made according to the client's personality. The ex libris, in fact, manifested a possessive and vain attitude of the owner towards the book, often bearing mottos or family crests. First spread in Germany, it appeared in Italy in the sixteenth century. Initially they spread only in monasteries or among noble patrician families who used to mark the books of their libraries, also called ex-bibliotheca. In the eighteenth, the use becomes more common finally in the twentieth century it spreads like a real art.
The techniques and subjects reflect the personal taste of the author: often they are monochromatic drawings that can be used as a stamp or engraving. Among the most common themes we find books and animals in particular the owl; often in addition to the name of the author we also find mottos. Sometimes they are based on puns related to the name and / or surname of the author, sometimes instead they are linked to his passions or profession.
The ex libris represents a unique symbol that allows the author to be distinguished and a necessary condition for all book lovers.