Visual Order to Organizing Collections
"portraits" Of Authors
Providing a portrait, even if fictional, of the key authors of one's set of manuscripts helped individualize the books and encouraged the illusion that those select guests invited to the room were conversing amid the authorities. The pairs of portraits on the upper walls of the duke's studiolo in the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino—somewhat representative as in Petrarch, Dante, and contemporary churchmen, and fictive as in Moses (right corner) and Solomon—relate to valued manuscripts in the library a floor below.
In Julius II's (r. 1503–1513) study in the Vatican, the Stanza della Segnatura, bookcases were attached to the walls under the now famous paintings School of Athens, Parnassus, Dispute over the Sacrament, and Jurisprudence. Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and others are portrayed with their books, which would have been in the room for Julius's usage. Two hundred eighteen of Julius's books were in this room, known in his lifetime as "the upper library." As André Masson pointed out, the Dispute over the Sacrament and the School of Athens were imitated later in the library of Jesuits of Valenciennes (1740–1742) to distinguish the collecting of classical works from the collecting of Christian disputations.
The frieze of over two hundred authors in the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, depicted in 1616–1618 in the three-sided gallery (now the Upper Reading Room), have numerical references in each author's portrayal to the shelf location of the author's respective books in the neighboring Duke Humphrey's Library, where the books remain chained today. The Bodleian Gallery displays the innovative wall shelves with heroes above (except for one heroine, Sappho) of the respective faculties of theology, arts, medicine, and law. First one walks between the theologians seeming to vie with each other across the room, then one peruses the classical authors of the liberal arts, and then one walks between the teachers of medicine and the teachers of law. The visual cues of the arts section lead one to the referenced manuscripts of classical and "modern" authors in Duke Humphrey's Library.
David Rogers has suggested that the frieze portrait imitates and enlivens the manuscript image of Roger Bacon. Further research might be done on the respective pictorial examples, seeking sources for the particular image, gesture, sayings, and symbols, as in André Thevet's Portraits des hommes illustres, 1584, and in Théodore de Bèze's (Beza; 1519–1605) Icones vivorum illustrium, 1580. The author frieze, the 1604 catalog, and the 1620 catalog are alternative Renaissance innovations in the area of indexing an exclusive collection for members of Oxford University, government dignitaries, and foreigners (either university students or graduates).
An alternative type of frieze is not of authors but of dignitary patrons or users of a local library. Sixty-seven portraits of fathers of the Abbaye de Saint-Victor adorn their library in Paris (1684); the architectural construction of the frieze high above the wall bookshelves is modeled on the Ambrosiana Library in Milan, designed by Federigo Borromeo, 1603–1609 (Masson, 1972, pp. 107, 117, fig. 58).
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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) - Tropical Hardwoods In The Verbena Family to WelfarismVisual Order to Organizing Collections - Hunting For Precious Objects, Horticulture And Culture, Cabinets Of Curiosity, "portraits" Of Authors