86 results in English
The Ash Wednesday Supper
La cena de le Ceneri (The Ash Wednesday supper), the first of Giordano Bruno’s six Italian philosophical dialogues, was first published in London in 1584. The title page indicates neither the place of publication nor the publisher, but scholars agree that the book was printed at the London shop of John Charlewood. The work is dedicated to the French ambassador to the English court, Michel de Castelnau, sieur de la Mauvissière, who assisted Bruno after his arrival in London in 1583. The book is divided into five dialogues and ...
Sangallo’s Sienese Sketchbook
The so-called Sienese sketchbook of the famous architect and engineer Giuliano da Sangallo was originally in the library of Sienese scholar Giovanni Antonio Pecci. The librarian Giuseppe Ciaccheri, a committed and passionate collector who enriched the Biblioteca comunale degli Intronati di Siena with works of art of outstanding quality, acquired it in 1784. Together with the Codice Barberiniano in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, the sketchbook bears witness to the architect's prolific production of drawings and is a valuable source of knowledge about his work. The small format and the ...
The Defeat of Montaperti
This manuscript is an illustrated account of the events relating to the famous Battle of Montaperti of September 4, 1260, which is mentioned by Dante in The Divine Comedy. The battle resulted in the victory of the armed faction of the Ghibellines, supporting the Holy Roman Emperor and led by Siena, over the Guelphs, supporting the pope and led by Florence. The manuscript was written and illustrated throughout by Niccolò di Giovanni di Francesco di Ventura da Siena, who signed it and stated that he completed the text on December ...
Minor Works of Dante Alighieri
This small manuscript, dating to the late-15th century, in Renaissance script, contains poems from the Rime (Rhymes) by the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321). These are so-called minor works that are distinguished from Dante’s Vita nuova (The new life), his book of sonnets recounting his early love for Beatrice, and his all-encompassing allegorical masterpiece, La divina commedia (The divine comedy). On the front cover is a 15th-century note, now almost totally faded, which states: "Di Cosimo de' Medici e degli Amici" (Belonging to Cosimo de’ Medici and ...
Book of the Passion of Saint Margaret the Virgin, with the Life of Saint Agnes, and Prayers to Jesus Christ and to the Virgin Mary
This volume is a compilation of three manuscripts produced in Bologna at the end of the 13th century. It begins with the Passion of Saint Margaret of Antioch, in Latin. This is followed by two texts in Italian, one describing the life and devotion of Saint Agnes and one containing prayers to the Virgin Mary. Each manuscript is written in a different hand; evidence suggests that the three parts were brought together and bound at the beginning of the 14th century. The only part of the book that is illustrated ...
The Divine Comedy
This celebrated manuscript of the Commedia of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) containing the complete text of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso was copied in the hand of Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) and is one of the most splendid manuscripts in the collection of the Biblioteca Riccardiana. Boccaccio illustrated the manuscript with five pen drawings in the lower margin of a series of leaves in the Inferno. These images were authenticated in 1992 by the noted Florentine scholar Maria Grazia Ciardi Duprè dal Poggetto. The most complete drawing depicts Dante in ...
Treatise on Field Fortifications
Giovan Battista Belluzzi (1506–54) was a San Marino native who served as chief military engineer to Cosimo I de' Medici (1519–74), duke of Florence. This manuscript, believed to be in Belluzzi’s own hand, was written for Stefano IV Colonna, a Florentine general also in the employment of the Medici family. The manuscript contains instructions for building military fortifications in remote areas, using only local resources such as earth and wood as structural elements. The text includes a discourse on how to evaluate the condition of the soil ...
Treatise on Architectural Design
A rare survival from the 16th century, this working notebook of the Italian architect and sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati (1511–92) contains designs for and textual descriptions of fortifications, systems of measurement, preparatory drawings for busts and other sculptures, and a lengthy text on the elements of architectural expression. Ammannati trained with Baccio Bandinelli in Florence and had commissions in Venice, Padua, Urbino, Naples and Rome, in addition to the work he did for Grand-Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519–74) in his hometown of Florence. The 114 folio ...
Jerusalem Delivered
La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem delivered) is a verse epic by the late-Renaissance Italian poet Torquato Tasso (1544–95). Written in the eight-line stanzas common to Italian Renaissance poetry, Tasso’s masterpiece is known for the beauty of its language, profound expressions of emotion, and concern for historical accuracy. The subject of the poem is the First Crusade of 1096–99 and the quest by the Frankish knight Godfrey of Bouillon to liberate the sepulcher of Jesus Christ. Tasso was born in Sorrento, in the Kingdom of Naples, and his interest ...
Fabrica, or Dictionary of Vernacular Arabic and Italian Language
Dominicus Germanus de Silesia (1588–1670) was a German priest and missionary. Born in Schurgast (present-day Skorogoszcz, Poland), he entered the Franciscan order in 1624 and devoted himself to learning Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. In 1630 he went to Palestine as a pastor, where he continued with his language studies. In 1635 he returned to Rome where he joined the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda de Fide (Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith). In 1636 he became a teacher at the Mission of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, and ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Idylls
Known as the “exercise book of the Idylls,” this autograph manuscript of the great Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837) is preserved at the National Library of Naples. It consists of a booklet with lined pages, on which the author’s handwriting stands out sharp and clear. The booklet constitutes the basic draft of Leopardi’s Idilli (Idylls), composed between 1819 and 1821. Included are La ricordanza (The remembrance) which later was titled Alla luna (To the moon), L’Infinito (The infinite), Lo spavento notturno (Nocturnal fright), Sera del giorno ...
Meditations, or the Contemplations of the Most Devout
Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae (Meditations, or the contemplations of the most devout) by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada (1388–1468) is thought to be the first Italian book illustrated with a series of woodcut images. The first edition was printed in Rome in 1467 by the German printer Ulrich Han. Presented here is a 1479 edition, printed in Mainz by Johann Neumeister (circa 1440–circa 1512), a German cleric and printer who claimed to have been a student of Johann Gutenberg. The designs of the 33 woodcuts, although considered rough by ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Epistles, Gospels, and Popular Readings in the Tuscan Language
This devotional book in Italian ('the language of Tuscany'), published in 1495 by Piero Pacini da Pescia (active, circa 1495-1514), is considered the greatest Florentine illustrated book of the 15th century. It contains 144 large woodcuts, all but eight original to this text, 24 small images of saints and prophets, and a series of 14 different border styles. The large number of images, along with the quality of the designs and execution, make this work a treasure of Florentine design and one of the truly important sources for the study ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Feminine Elegance: Fortnightly Fashion Review, Number 1
Eleganze femminili: rivista quindicinale di mode (Feminine elegance: fortnightly fashion review) was an Italian fashion magazine, published from January to May 1911, which was sold by subscription in Italy and abroad. In addition to presenting the latest fashions by the most famous designers in Paris, London, and Vienna, Eleganze femminili reported on social occasions in high society and included articles on etiquette, women’s interests, art, and the history of fashion throughout the centuries. It also offered readers the chance to obtain muslin or paper patterns of the designs shown ...
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The Kingdom of Serbia, Otherwise Called Rascia
The note in Italian in the cartouche in the lower left-hand corner of this map states that it was “described on the basis of the most exact maps and with the direction of the most recent news by Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola, subject and geographer of the Most Serene Master the Duke of Modena and published by Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi in his printing house at the [Via della] Pace with the authorization of the Pope. Year 1689.” Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola (1643−95) was an Italian geographer and cartographer ...
Geographic Map of Brazil
This map of Brazil was published by Giovanni Battista Albrizzi (1698-1777), a prominent Venetian publisher of books and maps. The notes on the map, in Italian, include various speculative remarks about the people and the geography of the interior of Brazil, then still largely unknown to Europeans. Albrizzi, who inherited his business from his father, was part of a family active in publishing and bookselling in Venice for 150 years. He played an important role in the intellectual life of the city and edited a weekly bulletin, Novelle della Repubblica ...
Portrait and Sketch of Alessandro Guerra
This portrait of Alessandro Guerra (1790−1862) was produced by Vincent (also called Vincenzo) Gozzini and engraved by Giovanni Paolo Lasinio around 1830, the period in which Guerra (dubbed "Il furioso" for his daring style of acrobatics on horseback) was at the height of his performing success. The rhymed couplet at the bottom of the illustration refers to Guerra’s skill and his worldwide fame. A direct rival of the famous English equestrian acrobat Andrew Ducrow, Guerra was one of the most significant artists of the circus in the early ...
Edict Prohibiting Traveling Shows Throughout Tuscany
This edict, dated February 1, 1780, was promulgated by Domenico Brichieri Colombi, fiscal auditor of the city of Florence, in execution of orders issued by Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany (reigned 1765−90). It prohibited public performances by traveling entertainers so as not to give to the people “opportunities to dissipate themselves vainly.” The edict applied to “Charlatans, Cantimbanchi [street singers], Storytellers, Puppeteers, Peddlers, Jugglers, and all those who carry on freak shows, exhibit Machines, Animals, or who sell secrets, and to any other foreigner who goes ...
Grand Extraordinary Surprising Spectacle
This poster, dated 1835 and printed by the firm of Andreola in Treviso, Italy, advertises a show by the Acrobatic, Athletic, and Olympic Company, one of the last touring companies that performed in theaters in what was known as an acrobatic “cultured” repertoire show. Such shows combined dance and pantomime, with artists playing specific roles. Popular throughout the 18th century, the shows were no longer in vogue by this period.  Over time, the acrobatic artists, such as Pietro Bono, the tightrope walker featured in this poster, were incorporated into the ...
Marittima Italiana: Bombay Line
Marittima Italiana was an Italian shipping company, established in 1936 as an offshoot of the long-established firm of Lloyd-Triestino, which in the late 1930s operated shipping lines between Italy and east Africa, southern Africa, Asia, and Australia. Shown here is a map of Marittima Italiana’s line from Genoa to Bombay (Mumbai), India. Distances are given for the different sections of the route: from Genoa to Naples, Naples to Port Said, Port Said to Aden, and Aden to Bombay. Inset maps show these five ports and the Suez Canal, with ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Their Sound Spreads in Every Land and Their Words Reach Every Border of the Earth
This map, published in Rome in 1927, shows the locations of the Franciscan missions around the world in 1926. Each mission is marked on the map, and a numbered key is used to provide the name and area of geographic responsibility of the mission. Symbols indicate the type of mission and the rank of its leading prelate. The areas of historical mission activity are shown by shading. The map is in Italian, with the title banner in Latin: In omnem terram exivit sonvs eorum et in fines orbis terrae verba ...
Contributed by Slovak National Library
Curious Designs
Braccelli’s Bizzarie di varie figure contains a suite of 50 etchings that celebrate the human figure in geometric forms. Squares, triangles, circles, and parallelograms take the place of muscle, bone, and tissue, defining the body in a new visual vocabulary. Braccelli’s designs are unique in the history of book illustration. They represent a high point in the Mannerist style of etching that flourished in the 17th century. Mannerism incorporated the techniques of the Renaissance but rejected the classical imagery and harmonious style that is the hallmark of much ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Topographical Map of the Colony of Eritrea at the Scale of 1:100,000
This set of 34 topographic maps was made in the early 20th century by the Italian armed forces. Italy, a relative latecomer to the scramble by the European powers for African colonies, took control of coastal areas of present-day Eritrea in 1885. The Treaty of Wichale (Uccialli) of 1889 concluded with Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia, gave Italy sovereignty over the territory that the Italians called Eritrea, a name derived from Mare Erythraeum, the Roman designation for the Red Sea. Between 1890 and 1941, Italy sent thousands of settlers to the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Colony of Eritrea from its Origins until March 1, 1899
Italy, which achieved its national unity in 1859–60, was a relative latecomer to the scramble among the European powers for colonies in Africa. Italian ambitions initially settled upon a region along the Red Sea coast once occupied by the Ottoman Turks and subsequently claimed by both Egypt and Ethiopia. Between 1869 and 1880 the Rubattino Navigation Company purchased tracts of land along the Red Sea coast from the local sultan. These acquisitions were transferred to the Italian state in 1882, and in 1885 Italian troops landed at Massawa, Aseb ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Maps of Bermuda, Iceland, Jan Mayen Island, and Newfoundland
Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the most important figures in the history of Western cartography. Although best known for his globes, he also produced numerous maps and atlases. These maps of four North Atlantic islands appear on a single plate in his Corso geografico universale (Course of universal geography), a two-volume work published in 1692. The map of “Iceland” is erroneous, and is based on a claim by the Venetian Nicolò Zeno, later discredited, that around 1380 he undertook a voyage to the northern seas where he found a ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
From the West, Cetinje, Montenegro
This late-19th century photochrome print is from “Views of Montenegro” in the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company. It depicts the town of Cetinje, the capital of Montenegro, an independent principality that separated from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. According to Baedeker’s Austria, Including Hungary, Transylvania, Dalmatia, and Bosnia (1900), Cetinje had 3,000 inhabitants at the time. “In some respects the place resembles a little German country town, but it has several distinctive features of its own. It may be seen in an hour, but a whole day ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Arrival of the Post, Cetinje, Montenegro
This late-19th century photochrome print is from “Views of Montenegro” in the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company. It depicts a scene from Cetinje, the capital of Montenegro, an independent principality that separated from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. According to Baedeker’s Austria, Including Hungary, Transylvania, Dalmatia, and Bosnia (1900), Cetinje, a town of about 3,000 inhabitants, was a two-day excursion by mountainous road from the town of Catarro (present-day Kotor) on the Adriatic coast. The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
General View, Njegus, Montenegro
This late-19th century photochrome print is from “Views of Montenegro” in the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company. It depicts a view from Njegus, characterized by Baedeker’s Austria, Including Hungary, Transylvania, Dalmatia, and Bosnia (1900) as “the ancestral home of the reigning family and the cradle of the Montenegrin wars of independence.” The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained the exclusive rights to ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Inn di Krstac on the Cetinje Road, Njegus, Montenegro
This late-19th century photochrome print is from “Views of Montenegro” in the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company. Baedeker’s Austria, Including Hungary, Transylvania, Dalmatia, and Bosnia (1900) recommended that European and American travelers of this period take a two-day excursion to Montenegro--from the port city of Catarro (present-day Kotor) to Cetinje, the then-capital of Montenegro. This photochrome print depicts a scene along the road in the town of Njegus, which Baedeker identified as “the ancestral home of the reigning family and the cradle of the Montenegrin wars of independence ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Portolan Atlas of the Mediterranean Sea, Western Europe, and the Northwest Coast of Africa
Portolan charts came into use on sailing vessels in the Mediterranean Sea toward the end of the 13th century. Made for and, in many cases, by seamen, these nautical maps were characterized by the system of intersecting loxodromes, or rhumb lines, which crisscross each chart and the ornamented compass rose that usually appears. This atlas of five manuscript charts has been attributed to Juan Oliva, a member of the illustrious Oliva family of Catalan chartmakers who began working in Majorca some time before 1550. The atlas was compiled no earlier ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Georgian and Italian Dictionary
Published in Rome in 1629, this Georgian-Italian dictionary was the first book printed in Georgian using moveable type. The dictionary was compiled by an Italian, Stefano Paolini, with the assistance of Niceforo Irbachi Giorgiano, the Georgian ambassador in Rome. It contains 3084 words, printed in three columns: Georgian words in the left column; Italian transliterations (with accents marked) in the middle column; and an explanation of the meaning of each word, in Italian, in the right column. The Georgian alphabet and the Latin equivalents of each of its letters appear ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The First Map of the Strait of Magellan, 1520
The first circumnavigation of the globe was the voyage of 1519–22 by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521), undertaken in the service of Spain. The only known first-hand account of the voyage is the journal by Venetian nobleman and scholar Antonio Pigafetta (circa 1480–1534). Four manuscript versions of Pigafetta’s journal survive, three in French and one in Italian. Pigafetta also made 23 beautiful, hand-drawn color maps, a complete set of which accompanies each of the manuscripts. Shown here is Pigafetta’s map of the Strait of ...
Contributed by National Library of Chile
Pictorial Representation of the Illustrious City of Venice Dedicated to the Reign of the Most Serene Dominion of Venice
Lodovico Ughi’s 1729 map of Venice is regarded as a landmark in the cartographic history of the city. For centuries, Venetian mapmakers had been copying older maps without significantly altering the appearance of the city. Ughi’s map was the first to be based on accurate field surveys and real measurements. Little is known about Ughi, the cartographer. The publisher of the map, Giuseppe Baroni, was one of six Venetian printmakers and merchants who formed, in 1718, a guild of engravers that attempted to regulate the quality of copper ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Venice
Wagner & Debes was a German firm that specialized in providing maps for inclusion in the famous guidebooks for travelers published by Karl Baedeker in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Eduard Wagner founded the firm as a lithographic press in Darmstadt in 1835. In 1839, Baedeker gave a contract to Wagner for a regular supply of maps for his increasingly popular guidebooks. Propelled by Baedeker’s growth, the firm expanded steadily for the next several decades. In 1872, when Baedeker moved from Koblenz to Leipzig, Wagner also relocated. At the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
For the Country, My Eyes. For Peace, Your Money
This World War I poster, published in Turin, shows a blinded Italian soldier with bloodstained bandages wrapped around his eyes. Like most belligerents in World War I, Italy had to raise funds to support its war effort by issuing war bonds, which were essentially interest-bearing loans that citizens made to the government. The appeals to patriotism and to the sacrifices by the soldiers at the front are typical of war bond posters produced in Italy and other countries. This poster was created by artist Alfredo Ortelli and advertises the Consolidated ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Starry Messenger Showing Forth Great and Truly Wonderful Sights, as Well as Suggesting to Everyone, but Especially to Philosophers, Things to be Pondered
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) was an Italian astronomer, mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and inventor. He revolutionized the sciences in the Western world by using mathematics and experimental evidence in the study of natural phenomena. Born in Pisa, Galileo studied in Pisa and Florence and in 1589 was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the University of Pisa. In 1591 he moved to the University of Padua, where he completed much of his most important scientific work. In late 1609, Galileo perfected a telescope of 30x magnification, with which he quickly ...
Remains of the Antiquities Existing in Puteoli, Cumae, and Baiae
Paolo Antonio Paoli, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome (1775–98), was a pioneering scholar and historian of the ancient civilizations of the region of Campania in southern Italy. He completed this fundamental work about the Greek and Roman settlements in the area of Pozzuoli, near Naples, in 1768. Avanzi delle antichità esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baia. Antiquitatum Puteolis Cumis Baiis existentium reliquiae (Remains of the antiquities existing in Puteoli, Cumae, and Baiae) features 69 plates with etched engravings, which are explained in an accompanying text that ...
The Rubrics of the First Book of Lactantius Firmianus's On the Divine Institutes Against the Pagans Begin …
This very rare work by Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius is one of the first books printed in Italy and the first dated Italian imprint. It was produced by the German typographers Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, who established a printing press in 1465 at the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco, near Rome. According to the colophon, the book was completed “In the year of Our Lord 1465, in the second year of the papacy of Paul II, the thirteenth indiction and the last day but two of the month of October ...
Design Statement for the Royal Palace of Caserta to their Holy Royal Majesties Carlo, King of the Two Sicilies and of Jerusalem. Infante of Spain, Duke of Parma and of Piacenza, Great Hereditary Prince of Tuscany and of Queen Maria Amalia of Saxony
Luigi Vanvitelli (1700–73) was an Italian architect and engineer, the son of Flemish-born painter Caspar van Wittel. Vanvitelli trained in Rome under the architect Niccolo Salvi, and designed churches and other structures in Rome, and in Ancona, in east-central Italy. He received a commission in 1751 to build a new royal palace at Caserta, just north of Naples for Charles VII, the Bourbon king of Naples and Sicily. Construction of this magnificent building began in 1752. It was one of the largest buildings erected in Europe in the 18th ...
Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 1, Volume 13, Familiar Correspondence: Letters from Women to Galileo Galilei
This codex contains letters to the Italian scientist, philosopher, and mathematician Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), including those written by his daughter Virginia, a nun in the convent of San Matteo in Arcetri, who had taken the name Sister Maria Celeste. From 1623 to 1633, Virginia faithfully wrote to her father, and her letters are a touching testimony of filial love. In 1633, Galileo was convicted of heresy for arguing the Copernican view that the Earth moves around the sun and was sentenced to life imprisonment. His sentence was commuted to ...
Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 1, Volume 16, Records
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), in addition to being an important scientist and mathematician, was an accomplished instrument maker, who in 1597 invented a military compass to assist in artillery bombardments and other military activities. While occupying the chair in mathematics at the University of Padua, Galileo established a workshop where, assisted by the mechanic Marcantonio Mazzoleni, he built precision instruments, above all compasses, which he then sold to supplement his university stipend. This document contains the list of accounts for the workshop. Recorded are the debits and credits of the ...
Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 2, Volume 13, Floats: Fragments and First Drafts Related to the Treatise "Of Things that Float on Water"
This fragmentary work elaborates on earlier studies undertaken by the Italian scientist, philosopher, and mathematician Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) on the Greek mathematician and physicist Archimedes of Syracuse (circa 287 BCE–circa 212 BCE). This study contains notes about the theories of buoyancy and floatation, which Galileo later gathered in a more coherent form in his treatise Discorso… intorno alle cose che stanno in sù l’acqua (Discourse on floating bodies), published in Florence in 1612. As with his more prominent work of astronomy, Sidereus Nuncius (Starry messenger), Galileo’s ...