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Bodleian Lyell Lectures 2017 - The Vatican Library and Counter-Reformation: Lyell Lectures 2017

decoration04 May 2017

This is the first Lyell Lecture of 2017, and will be followed by a drinks reception in Blackwell Hall.

In these lectures Paul Nelles enters the social and material world of the Vatican Library in the late sixteenth century. Famed in the Renaissance for its manuscript holdings of classical and patristic texts, the library experienced profound change in the aftermath of the Council of Trent as it adapted to its new role as an instrument of papal policy and a hub of ecclesiastical reform.


The lectures locate the library within a constellation of new state-sponsored collections in early modern Europe and explore the local and transnational environments in which the Vatican Library operated. Framed around the vibrant fresco cycles that graced the new library quarters constructed under Pope Sixtus V, the lectures visit specific episodes in sixteenth century cultural history to probe the dynamic of script and print within the space of the library. Particular attention is given to the individuals, practices, and working tools that intersected with the Vatican Library in this period.

Booking for the first lecture is recommended as space is limited, but it is not necessary to book for further lectures in this series.

The Lyell lectures 2017 have the overall title: The Vatican Library and the Counter-Reformation. The remaining lectures will take place at 5pm on:

Tuesday May 9 - Cardinals and councils
Thursday May 11 - An eternal archive
Tuesday May 16 - Scribes in the city
Thursday May 18 - Urbs et orbis. Popes and printers


04 May 2017
Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
free but early booking recommended
Bodleian Library
  • Janet Walwyn
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