The Annual Friends of the Rare Book Room Lecture: "'They Seem to be Made Not of Wood But of Copper': Ulisse Aldrovandi and the Making of Book Illustration"

Emily  Miranker's picture
April 6, 2016
United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Library and Information Science, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

This lecture will examine the participation of the naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605) in making the illustrations for his multi-volume natural history encyclopedia in late 16th-century Bologna. Renaissance naturalists were more or less involved with the production of illustrations for their books, depending on the nature of their work and the circumstances of its publication. Aldrovandi wished to surpass the works of his predecessors by producing an encyclopedia larger than those published earlier. Illustrations were at the center of this ambitious editorial strategy but the investment—financial and intellectual—required means beyond those of a single individual. This lecture will examine how his close involvement in the production of images contributed to the struggle Aldrovandi faced at the end of his life to publish his encyclopedia, the last great Renaissance encyclopedia of natural history ever published.

A reception open to all Friends of the Rare Book Room follows the lecture; to attend RSVP for

About the Speaker

Caroline Duroselle-Melish is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has worked with a wide range of collections in university and independent rare book libraries, including serving as Rare Book Librarian at the University of Rochester and as Assistant Curator at the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Dr. Duroselle-Melish has published on a range of topics associated with early modern printing, including studies of Ulisse Aldrovandi’s library and the trade relations between Frankfurt and Bologna. Her graduate degrees include the French equivalents of an ALA-accredited MILS, an MA in history, and a graduate-level French degree in the History of the Book.

Contact Info: 
Emily Miranker, MA
Team Administrator/Project Coordinator
212.822.7301 office

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