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Current Exhibitions

Chronicarum with color image of Venice

Stampato a Venezia/Printed in Venice


Ecco Venezia!/Behold Venice!

On view through February 16, 2019
A pair of exhibitions open to the public on the first floor
Large-print exhibition text is available at the front desk.

We welcome visitors to two exhibitions that present special items from and about Venice, including historic early printing from our special collections. Items on display include a first edition in Italian of Marco Polo's Wonders of the World (1496), works of the Venetian scholar-printer Aldus Manutius, an illustrated edition of Dante's Divine Comedy (1493), and magnificent examples of early modern graphic design.

Page from Marco Polo's 1496 travelogueStampato a Venezia/Printed in Venice

A selection of items in the Henry Long Room celebrates Venetian printers' artistry and craftsmanship as the powerful republic rapidly built its dominance in an emerging book trade. The items on display, printed in the prosperous maritime center between 1471-1551, are drawn from the library's special collections and offer visitors a rare opportunity to see historic and beautiful printed objects. On display are editions of works by Aristotle, Dante Alighieri, Marco Polo, Saint Catherine of Siena, and Baldassare Castiglione, among others, as well as 16th-century depictions of the city and exemplars of typographic and design innovations.

Ecco Venezia!/Behold Venice!

Display cases in our first floor sitting room show finely printed items that express visitors' fascination with the legendary city. Highlights include writings by Joseph Brodsky and Jan Morris (along with a corrected typescript revealing Morris's working methods) as well as architectural highlights from a first edition of John Ruskin's Stones of Venice (1851) alongside evocative modern-day illustrations. The Athenæum takes pride in offering curatorial experiences to young professionals; Ecco Venezia! was curated by Rare Books and Manuscripts Research Assistant Adriene Galindo with the advice of John Buchtel, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections.

"For our first Athenæum exhibitions, Adriene and I chose rare holdings from and about Venice," said Buchtel. "They tell compelling stories about technology and art, manifest their makers' love of beauty and learning, and open a portal to an extraordinary time and place. They also evoke the grand passions and adventures of avid Boston book collectors from the 1840s to the present."