Universität Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Orietta Filippini

Commercio intellettuale during the “Golden Age” of Libraries (1590–1700): The Vatican library between lnnocent X (1644–1651) and lnnocent XII (1691–1700)

The main goal of my project is to do research for a book focused on the history of the Vatican Library in the second half of the 17th century. As Mario Rosa points out, the age of the late Counter-Revolution represents “the apogee of collecting and collections”. The proposed research and monograph will contribute to the study of this golden age of libraries (1590–1700) by setting forth the institutional and cultural history of the Vatican Library, one of the most important libraries of that time. Previously scholarship rightly views the seventeenth-century Vatican Library as, above all, a seat of learning: a place fundamental to the intellectual life of the time and in dialogue with other Roman, Italian and European libraries. What is still lacking however, is a history of the library that studies it as a cultural institution, one that deals with its governance and administrative structure. Thus, the aim of my project is to situate the Vatican Library in relation to the history of the library / archive by studying the Library as an administrative “mechanism”, comparing its operative structures with those of other great European libraries of the era, in order to understand how its governance of “material life” supported, and indeed often infiltrated and commingled with, the Library’s intellectual life. During the stay at Gotha my plan is to focus on contextualising results of my previous archival research in a broad cultural framework that will involve extensive bibliographic research on the history of the book, on the culture of writing and on the development of the library as well as of the archive in early modern Europe. The proposed monograph has been accepted for the series “Studi e Testi” published by the Vatican Library itself.

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