Did you know we hold the Cicognara Library?

Conte Leopoldo Cicognara (1767-1834) was, among other things, an artist, a patron of the arts and an art historian. In addition to his publication Storia della scultura dal suo risorgimento in Italia sino al secolo di Napoleone, he also amassed an impressive art library, for which he also produced a catalogue Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte e d’antichità posseduti dal Conte Cicognara. This library of approximately 5000 books was so valuable that it was incorporated, in 1824, by Pope Leo XII into the Vatican Library, where it remains today.

The Vatican Library, with support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, has made the library available in microfiche. And we have a copy. Of course it is never fun to look at fiche, but these early printed books are the basis of our studies of art history. And sometimes the reproduction quality can be slightly better on fiche than in digital copies available on the internet.

We also have some of the titles (not the actual books) that were in the count’s library in our Special Collections, particularly in the Anthony Blunt bequest. As well, we hold the 2nd edition of the Storia della scultura... published in 1824 at shelfmark CABS B611 and the Ciocognara catalogue published in 1821 at shelfmark CABS Z56. The catalogue was used during the project to catalogue our historical books and the reference is included in our catalogue records where possible. Anyway, if you are interested in early books about art, techniques, aesthetics, etc., please ask at the desk to see the fiche.

Erica Foden-Lenahan Special Collections Librarian


Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte – www.arthistoricum.net/fr/themenportale/kunstgeschichte/ressourcen-kunstliteratur-digital/leopoldo-cicognara/

Dictionary of Art Historians – www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/cicognaral.htm