The paper museum of Cassiano dal pozzo
- The British Academy
- Accademia dei Lincei
- Académie des Inscriptions et des Belles-Lettres
- Getty Grant Program
- The Monument Trust
- The Royal Collection Trust
- Royal Collections
- The Warburg Institute
Share this project
Cassiano dal Pozzo’s (1588-1657) print collection was unique in its scope and organisation. Over 3,000 prints are known, in nine albums and many loose impressions mainly divided between the British Library and the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. This project will bring these collections together to be published in a new catalogue in three volumes.
Cassiano and his younger brother Carlo Antonio (1606-89), did not commission printmakers to engrave plates (as they did drawings), buying instead what was available from the flourishing printmaking industry of the time. The material they collected was essentially documentary, and they organised the collection by subject matter: costumes, religious processions and ceremonies, tombs and catafalques, the history of St Peter’s, maps and military engagements, portraits, social and humorous subjects, and so on.
The print collection formed part of Cassiano’s Paper Museum (Museuo Cartaceo). It reflects the taste and intellectual breadth of one of the most learned and enthusiastic of all seventeenth-century Roman collectors. As secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, as well as patron of such artists as Poussin, and a friend of Galileo, Cassiano dal Pozzo crossed the boundaries of artistic, scientific and political disciplines, to create his unique visual encyclopedia. A remarkable proportion of the prints are not to be found in existing literature, and many constitute additions to the known works of major printmakers. Indeed Cassiano’s collection has been described as ‘so far outside the common range of print collectors both in the seventeenth century and today, that a very high proportion of its contents is excessively rare and will only with great difficulty be found elsewhere’.