We were delighted to be able to contribute a number of Aldines from the Rylands collection to the recently opened exhibition ‘Aldo Manuzio: il rinascimento di Venezia’ hosted at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.
The exhibition will run until 19 June 2016 and has been curated by Guido Beltramini, Davide Gasparotto and Giulio Manieri Elia and aims to ‘retrace a unique and unrepeatable period in the history of European and Western culture, during which the book proved itself capable of changing the world.’ The curators drew on collections from around the world with volumes from New York, Paris, Cambridge and London joining those from Manchester.
After all the volumes had been carefully condition checked by the Collection Care staff they were duly crated for transportation from Manchester to Venice where Julianne Simpson oversaw their installation in the showcases, ensuring the necessary display conditions were met regarding light, temperature, and humidity.
In addition to focus on the Aldine texts themselves, the exhibition places the work of the Aldine press in the wider context of Venetian cultural production of the period, from the landscapes of Giorgione, the drawings of the young Titian, the engravings of Giulio Campagnola and the bronzes of Andrea Briosco. An important part of the exhibition is dedicated to the intense relationship that tied Aldo to the culture of northern Europe and to Erasmus of Rotterdam. The Dutch philosopher – who lived in Venice as a guest of the Manuzio family for almost a year in order to publish the new and definitive edition of his Adagia – not only appreciated the care taken with the Aldine editions, but also considered that having his works printed by Manuzio was of fundamental importance for the circulation of his thinking throughout Europe.
The exhibition also showcases the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Aldo’s most famous and refined illustrated book, with imaginative woodcuts possibly made from drawings by the illuminator Benedetto Bordon.
‘Aldo Manuzio. Il rinascimento di Venezia’ is organised by the V° Centenario della morte di Aldo Manuzio and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia; and the main donor partner World Monuments Fund, in memory of George and Vera Kaestlin-Bock.