Release Date: January 22, 2015
Florentine Publishing in the Renaissance Complements Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence; Focus Exhibition from Library Collection on View February 1–August 2, 2015, at the National Gallery Of Art
Washington, DC—From the Library: Florentine Publishing in the Renaissance presents a unique collection of texts produced between 1485 and 1637 from a number of renowned Florentine presses. On view from February 1 through August 2, 2015, in the West Building, Ground Floor, Gallery G-21, the focus exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art Library to complement the landmark exhibition Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence.
The printing press revolutionized the spread of ideas and information throughout 15th-century Europe, and Florence—like Venice and Rome—was an important site for this technology. Organized into four sections that highlight the intellectual and cultural wealth of the Florentine people, the exhibition introduces Florence as an extraordinary city that supported a wide array of artistic endeavors. Highlights include first editions of Leon Battista Alberti’s seminal treatise De re aedificatoria printed in 1485 as well as Vincenzo Borghini’s 1564 account of the funeral of Michelangelo, one of only five publically available copies of this text in the United States.
Other rare examples from Florentine presses showcase a distinct relationship between text and image. A number of festival books that portray the visual experience of Florentine ceremony will be included, which shed light on the rich history of pageantry and the rise of the vernacular tradition.
The co-curators of the exhibition are Neal Turtell, executive librarian, and Yuri Long, rare book librarian, both at the National Gallery of Art.
Library and Rare Books Collection
The National Gallery of Art Library contains more than 400,000 books and periodicals, including more than 10,000 volumes in the rare book collection, with an emphasis on Western art from the middle ages to the present. Founded in 1941 when the West Building opened to the public, the library moved to the East Building in 1979. The photographic archives and slide library contain more than 11 million black-and-white prints and 300,000 slides of paintings, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts. Access to the library is by appointment only, from Monday through Friday. Call (202) 842-6511 for more information.
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Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.
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Checklist (PDF 291 kb)
Piero di Cosimo Wall Text (PDF 1.8 mb)
From the Library: Florentine Publishing in the Renaissance
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