The Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division has acquired two works documenting and paying homage to Renaissance masters and patrons. Both books were published by the FMR Marilena Ferrari, a fine-art publishing house that aims to promote and revive the historical identity of the book as an unrevealed work of art and ultimate testimony of man’s ability to create intellectual and material beauty through high craftsmanship.
“The publications are a welcome addition to the Library’s holdings and will be useful to art historians and Renaissance scholars,” said Mark Dimunation, chief of the division. “The Marilena Ferrari-FMR Foundation attends to quality in all aspects of its productions, creating masterpieces that chronicle the tale of masterworks of an earlier time.”
“Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano” (“Michelangelo: The Wise Hand”)—donated to the Library by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—documents Michelangelo’s sculptures with Aurelio Amendola’s black-and-white photographs, which are printed on paper made exclusively for the project. There are also detachable reproductions of Michelangelo drawings on handmade folios. Only 33 copies will be published worldwide, each with a price of 100,000 euros, or around $155,000. The 46.2-pound book, with its carved marble cover, sits in a sleek black case, comes with its own stand and a 500-year guarantee.
“Caterina de’ Medici, regina e mecenate” (“Caterina de’ Medici, the Patron Queen”) is a one-of-a-kind masterwork dedicated to the queen of France. Measuring 14 inches by 22 ¼ inches and weighing 11 pounds, the tome comes enclosed in a wooden triptych case (pictured above) inspired by the “Triptyque de Deuil,” once owned by Caterina herself and now part of the collection of the Musée National de la Renaissance d’Ecouen in France. The text was transcribed totally by hand upon pages made of vellum, and the work features six full-page illuminations representing various episodes from Caterina de’ Medici’s life and 26 capital letters embellished with decorative elements. The cover is adorned with a maiolica ceramic, hand-painted with natural colors and 24-karat gold, depicting an emotionally overcome Caterina witnessing the Crucifixion.