I am pleased to announce the purchase of The Cicognara Library, a major research tool that will be of interest to scholars studying history of art, architecture and archaeology in the 18th and 19th centuries.  This microfiche set will be housed in the Environmental Design Library and will be accessible in approximately 2-3 months.

In 1824 the Vatican Library acquired from Conte Leopoldo Cicognara (1767-1834) his famous library of approximately five thousand books on art, archaeology, and allied subjects. The books date, in a virtually unbroken sequence, from the beginning of printing to Cicognara’s time. It was the largest and most judiciously selected library in the field ever brought together. To this day its possession establishes the Vatican Library as a generously equipped center for studies in the literature and the history of art and classical archaeology as well as of art criticism, taste, and aesthetics.

Cicognara was a poet and an amateur artist, a patron of the arts and one of the founding fathers of the discipline of art history. He reconstituted the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice (both the school and the museum) and for many years served as its president. His book on the history of sculpture, Storia della scultura dal suo risorgimento in Italia fino al secolo di Canova (title of the revised 2nd. edition, Prato, 1823-4; 1st ed., Venice, 1813-1818) remains unsurpassed.

Included among these books are many bound volumes of engravings with texts that show how to draw and paint, how perspective works, how to build houses, bridges, fountains, machines, etc. In addition, there is a large stock of books and pamphlets on museums and private collections, sales catalogs, travel to historic and artistic sites, many volumes of engravings of works of art and architecture, feasts, funerary rites and solemn entries, costume and dress, emblems, hieroglyphs, and much more. A perusal of the library offers an enlightening view of how artists worked and how collectors and patrons of art made their choices.

The generous interest in the Project of the Vatican Library and the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation help make this possible. The films are taken by the Photographic Department of the Vatican Library and turned into microfiches by Chadwyck-Healey, Ltd. of Cambridge, England.  This is currently a joint program of the Vatican Library and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For more information, contact Kathryn Wayne, Fine Arts Librarian

Some of the above text excerpted from: www.cicognara.com