Room XIX contains essays, literature, scientific publications, sacred and profane works, both courtly and popular, these include Holy Scriptures, works by authors among the most representative of the classical, medieval and modern age, proverbs and almanacs.
LITERATURE, ESSAYS, THEATRE AND MUSIC
Prominent editions are exhibited here, from the cinquecentina (16th century post-incunabula) of Plato’s Symposium in the edition collated by Marsilio Ficino, to a superb cinquecentina in folio with Virgil’s Life and Works, illustrated with xylographs in 15th century style, to the Metamorphoses by Ovid, the works that more than others contributed to the survival of the ancient gods through its original version and the moralised one. Then there is the precious French edition of the two Greek sophists Philostratus, dedicated to the Prince of Condè, Euripides’ Bacchantes (in the 1968 double translation by Sanguineti), directed by Ronconi at the Piccolo in Milan and by Squarzina at the Stabile in Genoa. The scholarly editions of Hesiod, Homer, Anacreon and Petronius are also of undoubted interest. Among the works related to the sacred, there is the Bible illustrated by continuous engravings in the Vulgata Sistina, printed by Giunti in 1611 in Venice, and to contrast with it the “Carmina Burana” and the poems of François Villon in the Varieté edition of 1955.
It should be noted that only a very small part of the crowded selection of scholarly editions is cited; the whole concerns essays and treatises of the Enlightenment age in particular.
Originated from the cautionary notes of the amanuensis, the ex libris was born in Gutenberg’s Germany around 1470. It arrived in Italy during the 16th century in the form of a small sheet, with the owner’s name engraved and printed (the heraldic emblem, the impresa or an allegorical figure often accompanied by a motto), glued to the lower plate of the book’s internal fold. The use of ex-libris spread in the 17th century, became fashionable during the 18th, lost popularity at the beginning of the 19th and then regained it with the Pre-Raphaelites, to become a graphic synthesis of the client’s inner world, his cultural inclinations and social ambitions. The original technique of xylography came back in vogue and had an easy grip on both the engraver and the client for its light contrasts. From the 19th to the 20th century, a cultivated collector’s fashion spreads beyond the borders, attentive to the use of printing presses, inks and paper that is of interest for important commissions.