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Archaologie der Antike: aus den Bestanden der Herzog-August-Bibliothek, 1500-1700.

This catalogue of the bibliographical exhibition on early modern antiquarianism held at Wolfenbuttel in the summer of 1994 constitutes a useful handbook for students of the field, a well-informed companion to Ludwig Schudt's bare-bones bibliographical guide of 1930, Le Guide di Roma. Its value lies in its summaries of individual antiquarian treatises and in its ability to succinctly place them within disciplinary contexts; there are helpful indications to a secondary literature, detailed in a select bibliography.

The principle virtue of the work lies in Daly Davis's astute organization of a wide bibliographical field. The conceptual terminus a quo of the exhibition is Claudio Tolomei's 1542 description of the publication program of the Accademia Vitruviana in Rome (which was never achieved, but which early advocated the systematic publication of sources for the study of the Roman world); its terminus ad quem is Jacob Spon's systematization of the field in his 1685 Miscellanea eruditae antiquitatis. The catalogue employs Spon's disciplinary categories in arranging its material, thus neatly avoiding the pitfalls of applying distinctions derived from modern classical scholarship, while introducing much needed analytical clarity (often missing in the monographic literature) into a frequently recondite body of scholarship. After an initial chapter on Vitruvian scholarship, the catalogue follows Spon's divisions: topography (which, as the most important antiquarian genre, garnishes the most entries), architecture, inscriptions, coins and medals, cameos, statues and busts, relief, and painting. Within Spon's schema, Daly Davis surveys well-known fifteenth-century "founders" such as Biondo and Tortelli, as well as no less original but less well known sixteenth-century figures such as Bartolomeo Marliani (whose Topographia Urbis Romae firmly established topography as an antiquarian genre, though the first edition was published in Rome, not Lyon as Daly Davis asserts; Rabelais's 1534 Lyon edition incorporates corrigenda of the 1534 Rome edition); the Lyon antiquarian Guillaume Du Choul (an early historian of classical religion); and Spon's contemporaries Famiano Nardini and Francesco Bianchini.

Any comprehensive overview of early modern antiquarianism, which Daly Davis does not pretend to provide, but which the catalogue nonetheless furnishes, would also need to acknowledge the important position of historical commentaries on classical authors, where much of the scholarship found in the massive tomes described in the catalogue was first retailed: Sigonio on Livy, Lipsius on Tacitus (there is surprisingly little Lipsius here at all), or Saumaise on the Historia Augusta, for example. Indications of the period's exploration of Christian antiquity are similarly absent, apart from an entry for Bosio's Roma sotterranea; the rich early modern discussion of early Christian iconography would shed additional light on Daly Davis's central concern, the discovery and use of the visual repertoire of antiquity. This focus on the material and visual apprehension of antiquity sometimes leads Daly Davis to overemphasize the archaeological character of the antiquarian enterprise, which varied over time and between intellectual milieux. The exhibition might have wished to borrow Spon's term Archaeographia, which he defined as declaratio sive notitia antiquorum monumentorum. The antiquarians knew the monumenta as both material and textual relics of the classical past; the term also alludes to the fundamental and innovative role publishing played in antiquarian scholarship, which as the catalogue shows allowed scholars from Naples to Antwerp (and Wolfenbuttel) as well as Rome to participate in the on-going recovery of the ancient Urbs.

Students accustomed to viewing drawings "after the antique" in isolation will find in the catalogue an introduction to the empirical contexts within which a broad church of early modern antiquarians worked. At the same time, those who habitually consider antiquarian scholarship within exclusively philological parameters will perhaps be surprised by the extent of the antiquarian exploration of the material remains of antiquity so ably documented here.

PAUL NELLES Warburg Institute
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Author:Nelles, Paul
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1997
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