Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art

Science and Faith Between Observance and Censorship: Rare Books from the Libraries of Campania from XVI to XVIII Centuries

February 17 May 18, 2007

Four libraries from the Region of Campania of Italy loaned an impressive collection of rare books that were listed on the now infamous Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Forbidden Books). The works illustrate the wide range of writings in science and faith that were banned by the Roman Catholic Church between 1563 and 1765. The 158 exhibited books illustrate the religious anxiety of the Church following the Reformation as well as the intellectual flourishing of the Italian Renaissance and include the works of great minds, such as Copernicus, Euclid, Galileo, and Duns Scotus.

The exhibition was curated by Dr. Loredana Conti, superintendent at the Beni Librari, Regione Campania along with Dr. Roberto Severino, professor emeritus of Italian and faculty of languages and linguistics at Georgetown University. Regione Campania libraries participating in the loan of these rare volumes were: Biblioteca Universitaria Statale, Napoli; Biblioteca San Francesco del Convento di San Francesco, Vico Equense, Naples; Biblioteca Provinciale di Salerno; and Biblioteca Fra Landolfo Caracciolo, Naples.

The exhibition was organized with the generous sponsorship of the Region of Campania, Italy, through the coordination and assistance of Italian Muse, Washington, D.C., and Rome, Italy. It was also sponsored in part by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago with generous support from the Illinois Arts Council.

Image: Giuseppe Scala, Ephemerides, 1559. Courtesy of Fordham University.