MainServicesSocial and cultural servicesBook MuseumExhibitions archiveExhibitions 2008–2010Italian books in Belarus in the epoch of Bona Sforza

Italian books in Belarus in the epoch of Bona Sforza

Medieval Belarus felt a multilateral influence of the Italian Renaissance that had formed an ideological basis of development of arts, sciences and technologies. The greatest role in this belonged to the fine arts and the book. Amateurs of painting and sculpture acquired works by founders of the Renaissance, while publications by antique and Renaissance authors occupied shelves in private libraries. Books were brought to Belarus by young men who studied at the western universities, and also the men of means who collected their private libraries.

At the exhibition are displayed incunabula published in Italy in the second half of the XV – XVI centuries. This is the golden age of the Italian book. The Italian press of the second half of the XV century is presented by such world famous incunabula as Rolewinck, Werner. Fasciculus temporum (Venezia, 1485), Dante Alighieri. La commedia (Firenze, 1481), Plutarchus. Vitae illustrium virorum (Venezia, 7 XII 1491), etc.

The book by the well-known Italian poet Dante Alighieri La commedia (Firenze, 1481) is the most interesting Italian incunabula. This edition is one of the earliest patterns of application of engravings on copper in the book and the first attempt to place illustrations in the text, instead of on a separate leaf that considerably complicated the book printing. Engravings were executed by Florentine engraver Baccio Baldini on the basis of images by Italian artist Sandro Botticelli.

Venice was the most significant center of book printing in the XVІ century. Among Venetian paleotypes, there are books by the well-known Italian printer of the Renaissance Aldo Manuzio, who had been the founder of the Aldos’ publishing house which existed about a century. His editions, Aldinae, are easily recognizable by a printed mark – the image of a dolphin entwined around an anchor.

Italian incunabula – editions of works by antique authors (Aristotle, Plutarch, Cicero and others) are displayed at the exposition. Books by the Italian authors, including poet and scientist-humanist Francesco Petrarca, and writer and politician Nicollo Machiavelli are exhibited.