Padua On The Prairies Ifla 09final


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Padua On The Prairies Ifla 09final

  1. 1. Padua on the Prairies: How a 17 th Century Diploma di Laurea brought Enlightenment to Winnipeg Betty Braaksma University of Manitoba Libraries IFLA Art Libraries Section Preconference Firenze. August 20, 2009
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>The research problem (s) </li></ul><ul><li>The methodology </li></ul><ul><li>The results </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>In 1953 the new Elizabeth Dafoe Library received a collection of rare books, manuscripts and incunabula </li></ul><ul><li>The collections’ purpose was to “illustrate the place of the book as the instrument of civilized thought through many centuries of Western civilization.” </li></ul> Background
  4. 4. <ul><li>An eclectic collection: </li></ul><ul><li>10 manuscripts, </li></ul><ul><li>1 leaf </li></ul><ul><li>60 books… most from the 15 th & 16 th centuries </li></ul><ul><li>16 incunabula, largest concentration of early printed books in Western Canada </li></ul><ul><li>2 antiphonaries </li></ul><ul><li>1 st edition King James Bible </li></ul><ul><li>15 th century edition of Caesar's commentaries </li></ul><ul><li>2 Spanish legal documents (16 th century) </li></ul><ul><li>Gerard's herbal (1633) </li></ul><ul><li>Gulliver's Travels (1726) </li></ul><ul><li>2 Kelmscott Press imprints, 19th-century </li></ul><ul><li>Cocteau drawings (1923) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Among the illuminated manuscripts: </li></ul><ul><li>A &quot;Doctor’s diploma presented to Gaudentius Carnerius, January 31, 1684. </li></ul><ul><li>An Italian illuminated manuscript on vellum with many words in letters of gold. Each page is surrounded by a decorative border composed of flowers, insects, birds, fruit, and conventional foliage. On the first leaf is a miniature portrait of Gaudentius Carnerius. The last page contains his arms. It is bound in red morocco, gilt tooled. Attached is the seal of the university within a red morocco container, gilt tooled.&quot; </li></ul>
  6. 9. The Research Problem (s) <ul><li>Nothing else known about the document </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly used as a “pretty book” for display purposes </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn about it? </li></ul>
  7. 10. The Other Research Problem <ul><li>How to find information on a 17 th century Italian manuscript while living in Winnipeg?? </li></ul>
  8. 12. Questions <ul><li>Who was “Gaudentius Carnerius”? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of diploma is it? What does it say? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does it look the way it does? Are there others like it? </li></ul><ul><li>How & where were the diplomas made? </li></ul><ul><li>Who were the artists & scribes? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the meaning of the miniatures, especially the botanicals? </li></ul>
  9. 13. Methodology <ul><li>Research the diploma as an artifact, rather than as a text; what JF Payne called “an archaeological point of view” </li></ul><ul><li>look for evidence of the “artistic attitudes of the various periods and the cultural significance of artist-designers, publishers, and authors.” </li></ul>
  10. 14. Research steps <ul><li>Translation </li></ul><ul><li>Exemplar search – i.e. other diplomas </li></ul><ul><li>Historical, botanical & symbological research </li></ul><ul><li>Genealogical research </li></ul><ul><li>Research was not linear, but organic! </li></ul>
  11. 15. Sources <ul><li>Online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>open access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>subscription </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Print </li></ul><ul><li>People – “invisible college” </li></ul>
  12. 16. Online – open access <ul><ul><li>Google, Google Scholar, Google Books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Image search, Flickr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Alerts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WorldCat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>European Digital Library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalogues of museums, galleries & libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… .etc. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 17. <ul><li>Open Internet sources were crucially important, for both research and communication </li></ul>
  14. 18. Online – subscription access <ul><li>JSTOR and PubMed were particularly useful </li></ul><ul><li>Journal literature + Inter-library loan very important </li></ul>
  15. 19. Print/paper/physical resources - local <ul><li>UM has an excellent art library which had a lot of background information on Italian medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment art </li></ul>
  16. 20. Print/paper/physical resources - remote <ul><li>Collections of: </li></ul><ul><li>the Wellcome Trust, Royal College of Physicians & Natural Science Museum, London </li></ul><ul><li>Newberry Library, Chicago </li></ul>
  17. 21. “ A book of plants gathered at Padua” 1631-1694 Natural History Museum, London
  18. 22. <ul><li>Archivists </li></ul><ul><li>Translators </li></ul><ul><li>Experts </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>People –”Invisible College”
  19. 24. <ul><li>Private collector Avvocato Gianfranco Nucci of Rimini has a personal collection of over 100 European diplomas ranging from the late 1400s to Fascist-era Italy…27 of these are of the 17 th -century “Carnerius” type </li></ul>
  20. 25. <ul><li>References to and/or images of 127+ diplomas were found or seen </li></ul><ul><li>Diplomas originated from Padua, Bologna, Venice and other northern Italian cities; one from Rome </li></ul><ul><li>Diplomas are scattered around the world; largest collections are in archives in London, Italy, New York, New Jersey (Princeton), Montreal (McGill) </li></ul><ul><li>Some are seen on auction sites, or are in private hands </li></ul><ul><li>The existing diplomas are mostly for law or medicine, although a fragment of one exists for apothecary science </li></ul>The Results
  21. 26. Who was “Gaudentius Carnerius”? <ul><li>Genealogical/heraldic research on Gaudentius incomplete – family name “Carneri” seems to originate from areas immediately around Venice </li></ul><ul><li>Carnerius diploma has all the elements of an expensive document, paid for by a wealthy family – a possible connection to the sculptor Mattea Carneri? </li></ul>
  22. 27. What kind of diploma is it? What does it say? <ul><li>Doctor of Canon Law – not a physician </li></ul><ul><li>Describes the graduation ritual </li></ul><ul><li>Language is boilerplate – all diplomas say same thing </li></ul><ul><li>Contains names & signatures of identifiable personalities </li></ul>
  23. 28. <ul><li>Consensus is that the format & style of these diplomas were unique to the universities of Northern Italy and the Veneto in particular </li></ul><ul><li>Workshops/studios would produce these & other official documents – dogali, marriage contracts, monastic certificates </li></ul><ul><li>Images used are probably the product of the long history of miniature painting in the region, especially Padua </li></ul><ul><li>Some scribes & miniaturists were well known </li></ul>How & where were the diplomas made? Who made them?
  24. 29. Why do the diplomas look the way they do? <ul><li>Codex form likely a portability innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Diplomas were commissioned and paid for by the graduate and/or his family </li></ul><ul><li>The more elaborate the design, the more expensive the diploma </li></ul><ul><li>The most expensive ones have lots of gilt, marginalia, coats of arms and portraits </li></ul>
  25. 31. What is the meaning of the miniatures? <ul><li>The diploma is a rich source of classical and religious iconography, but most particularly of floral imagery </li></ul><ul><li>Conveying a message, or just “wallpaper”? </li></ul><ul><li>imagery is more typical of medieval books of hours than post-Renaissance illustration </li></ul>
  26. 32. The Martyrdom of Santa Giustina Evangeliary of Santa Giustina Benedetto Bordon 1523-5, Padua, Italy W 107, f. 65r Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
  27. 33. “ The Carnerius Code”: are the botanicals significant? <ul><li>The same flowers & fruits can be found in nearly all of the “botanical” diplomas </li></ul><ul><li>Floral imagery could be read 2 ways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many symbols of death/decay/immortality - could this be a posthumous diploma? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many symbols of devotion – could be a declaration of Carnerius’ faith, in particular a devotion to Mary. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 34. A Rare Jewel <ul><li>The Carnerius diploma is only 1 of 3 that show evidence of an artist with botanical training </li></ul><ul><li>The others are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in Jerusalem, in the Umberto Nahon Museum - a medical diploma issued to Giacomo Levi in September 1684 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>at Princeton, a law diploma issued to Girolamo Maschi, November 1685 (?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are they done by the same person? </li></ul><ul><li>Was there a connection to the Orto Botanico in Padua? </li></ul>
  29. 36. by Courtesy of U.Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art, Jerusalem, Israel.
  30. 38. More “Code”??? <ul><li>Carnerius diploma is fairly unique in the use of classical images </li></ul><ul><li>Was Carnerius a classicist? </li></ul><ul><li>Was the design part of the general miniaturist repertoire – more “wallpaper” </li></ul><ul><li>Was it meant to convey a hermetic message? </li></ul>
  31. 40. Who made the diploma? <ul><li>The Carnerius diploma has the words Valerio ( or possibly Valeria) Vincent. F underneath the coat of arms on the last page. </li></ul><ul><li>The F could be an abbreviation for “fecit” </li></ul><ul><li>Name not noted in Italian studies of Padua miniaturis ts </li></ul>
  32. 41. Questions still needing answers <ul><li>Who was Carnerius? What was his connection to the sculptor Mattia Carneri? More genealogy/heraldry needed </li></ul><ul><li>Why did northern Italy produce these diplomas? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a connection to Netherlandish art? </li></ul><ul><li>Who was the artist? More diplomas from 1684/5 needed </li></ul><ul><li>What is the floral and classical symbolism about? </li></ul>
  33. 42. <ul><li>an artifact of 17 th century education, wealth & faith </li></ul><ul><li>an original work of art, unique among other Italian diplomas </li></ul><ul><li>a snapshot of botanical science & botanical art in its infancy </li></ul><ul><li>a window into the development of the Orto Botanico and other botanical gardens </li></ul><ul><li>a bridge between the scribes of the past and the information systems of today </li></ul>What did I learn…. About the diploma?
  34. 43. … .About the research process? <ul><li>We worry too much about the medium instead of listening to the message. i.e. focusing on traditional resources for research </li></ul><ul><li>Need to include Web 2.0 resources in archival/art history research </li></ul><ul><li>Need to continue to open up collections to digitization and collaborative ventures </li></ul>
  35. 44. A student observation, August 2009 <ul><li>“ Students often crave the chance to do “real history”….Only if they have they experience of working with documents will they understand how the information in their textbooks got there. Historians need to…teach students how digital and analog can work together” . </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  36. 45. “ Among scholars in the humanities, interest in visual sources will continue to grow. For this reason, we must ensure that researchers and curators work together to secure scholarly access well into the future.”
  37. 47. Next steps <ul><li>Creation of Archival studies information literacy module based on the Carnerius diploma </li></ul><ul><li>Study of Dysart # 8 & Dysart # 9 – deeds granted during the time of Philip II of Spain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Carta executoria de Gaspar de Gauna” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Privilegio al illustrissimo señor Don Henrique de Guzman, Conde de Oliuares ” </li></ul></ul>
  38. 49. Thank you