Il grande carteggio federiciano. Prospettive di ricerca per il collezionismo artistico e librario (con una nota su Papirio Bartoli e Girolamo Cardano)

Roberta Ferro*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


The essay underscores the significance of letter writing for the cultural project of Cardinal Federico Borromeo, archbishop of Milan and founder of the famous Ambrosiana Library and Art Gallery. Together with printing and travels abroad, correspondence with scholars from across Europe is key – according to Borromeo – to increase and spread knowledge. Here are emphatically stated the wellknown humanistic values establishing the commercium epistolare, one of the cornerstones of Res publica litterarum. Therefore he advised members of his ‘Collegio dei Dottori’, the true heart of Ambrosiana, to write and store letters. From another point of view we can esteem letter writing – specifically Borromeo’s letters in Latin directed to his nephews – as a part of the cardinal’s literary output. The pedagogical quality of the epistles examined confirms the genuine humanistic vocation of the cardinal. But if we consider epistolary collections as an historical source, we have to call attention to his own great correspondence, a collection of tens of thousand letters, still kept in over 120 folders, stored in Ambrosiana Library. The second part of the paper tries to shed light on the story of this big archive and then to suggest research perspectives for artistic and book collecting. In fact, it’s not be news that letters have always been the main documentation for art historians. In this particular case we have to remember that Borromeo didn’t exchange letters directly with artists, of course, and not even with collectors, but he envolved a large numbers of collaborators, sometimes known agents but often anonymous figures. What we need, in order to improve knowledge about the history of Borromeo’s institutes, is to sift through letters after selecting names and chronological sections. In conclusion some examples (Papirio Bartoli and Girolamo Cardano) try to suggest how useful is to cross epistolary data.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] The great Federician correspondence. Research prospects for artistic and book collecting (with a note on Papirio Bartoli and Girolamo Cardano)
Lingua originaleItalian
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteLa donazione della raccolta d'arte di Federico Borromeo all'Ambrosiana 1618-2018. Confronti e prospettive
EditorA Rocca, A Rovetta, A Squizzato
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Biblioteca Ambrosiana
  • Epistolografia
  • Federico Borromeo
  • Girolamo Cardano
  • Papirio Bartoli
  • Pinacoteca Ambrosiana


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