Italian medieval and early Renaissance art

No matter how hard we try to be consistent in collecting, by following our collection policy, meeting the needs of the academic community and remaining abreast of current publications, we have to face the fact that there are inevitably gaps in our collections, gaps perhaps from previous decades, gaps which can be very hard to fill. It is a joy indeed, therefore, when an academic, seeking to slim down his own collection of books, makes us the very generous gift of items he no longer needs.

Professor Nigel Morgan, of the Department of History of Art, has done just that. He has most generously donated to us material he has gathered over the years, which he knows we are missing and which will be of interest to scholars using the Library. The wealth of material donated, on medieval and early Renaissance art, comes in a variety of languages. Most of the items are in Italian; some in English; some in German; some in Spanish; with a few in French. Notable among the English items are 10 volumes of the set “A critical and historic corpus of Florentine painting“, published in Florence, begun in 1984 by Richard Offner and later reprinted. Offner’s research on Florentine art culminated in this project, a description of Florentine renaissance artists, methods, and workshop production, and it is wonderful to have acquired these important volumes.

I gigli dell'arte (2)

A selection of the “I gigli dell’arte”

Amongst the Italian items are books on monasteries (San Vincenzo al Volturno e la cripta dell’abate Epifanio: a rare, slim volume – 2014.11.1242) on churches (Orsanmichele a Firenze / a cura di Diane Finiello Zervas: a beautiful two volume set – F199.a.2.1-2), on cathedrals and museums, including guidebooks to Italian cities from the historical and artistic perspective. There are works on fresco painting, painting and sculpture; exhibition catalogues and catalogues raisonnés (examples of catalogues raisonnés that we did not have and were grateful to receive include: Benozzo Gozzoli : catalogo completo dei dipinti / Anna Padoa Rizzo2014.8.982; Antoniazzo Romano : catalogo completo dei dipinti / Antonio Paolucci2014.8.984; Donatello : catalogo completo delle opere / Charles Avery2014.8.983).

Illustration from  (2014.9.4095)

Illustration from 2014.9.4095

There are several very beautiful items on illuminated manuscripts (I codici miniati del Museo di S. Marco a Firenze / Renzo ChiarelliS950.a.9.516; Codici miniati del trecento : nella Biblioteca capitolare della Cattedrale di Padova : catalogo / a cura di Lucio Grossato2014.7.1338; Codici miniati della Biblioteca capitolare e dipinti del Museo canonicale di Verona : catalogo della esposizione nella sala maggiore della Biblioteca capitolare di Verona, 15 luglio-17 settembre 1977 / Pierpaolo Brugnoli2014.10.1797) There are also items on liturgical texts and graduals (Gli antifonari di Spilimbergo / a cura della parrocchia2014.9.4095; I corali del Duomo di Siena / M.G. Ciardi DupréS950.a.9.520; Liturgia in figura : codici liturgici rinascimentali della Biblioteca apostolica vaticana / a cura di Giovanni Morello e Silvia Maddalo2014.13.111).

Illustration - Arte lombarda (S400.4.b.9.448)

Illustration – Arte lombarda (S400.4.b.9.248)

One excellent example of how these donated books complement our collection is “Arte lombarda dai Visconti agli Sforza“, published in Milan by Silvana in 1958 (2014.9.4097). This is the catalogue of an exhibition held at Palazzo Reale, Milan, April-June 1958. We did not have this catalogue, but we did have a similar item, a larger volume mostly of plates, published one year later in Milan in conjunction with the exhibition (S400:4.b.9.248). How good it is now to acquire the actual catalogue.

We are very grateful to Professor Nigel Morgan, and his books will be used and appreciated by many students and scholars. A fellow member of the Department of History of Art here in Cambridge, Dr. Donal Cooper, has commented thus on this very generous donation: “It is a wonderful bibliographic endowment for the study of Italian medieval and early Renaissance art in Cambridge”. It is indeed, and we are delighted to accept it.

Bettina Rex

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