in his library at Mentana
Federico Zeriís art library comprises more than 46,000 books as well as about 37,700 auction catalogues and 60 journals. It forms the natural scientific extension to the photograph library with which it is inseparably linked. It also reflects Zeriís professional and intellectual development, and was personally designed and installed by him at his Mentana villa.
That the library was preserved exactly as its owner left it enables us to enjoy a genuine Authorís Library today. Over and above the value of every publication, the special feature is the volume arrangement. Novel relations will be found between artists and reading programmes, reflecting Zeriís own studies and research. Another unique feature is the appearance in many books of hand-written annotations, dedications and attachments such as letters, photographs and articles bearing witness to the critical work of the scholar.
The library bears the stamp of its ownerís intellectual and general cast of mind. This is seen from the extreme wealth and variety of contents, covering areas of Italian and European history of art, his favourite area of study. Other sections reflect his interest in architecture, Muslim and Middle Eastern culture, and the applied arts.
Content and characteristics of Sections
As of September 2007, the essential core of Federico Zeriís art library has been transferred to the Bologna centre.
The richest section concerns Italian painting from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century and consists of monographs, catalogues and extracts.
There are also important sections covering sculpture, miniatures, medieval art, drawing, engraving, foreign art, applied arts, classical art, Byzantine art, archaeology, architecture, iconography, museum catalogues and sources of art historiography. The section on the twentieth century includes the library of the scholar Franco Russoli (former Superintendent of the Brera) which Zeri purchased to avoid it being dispersed.
The collection of auction catalogues (not yet transferred to Bologna) is one of the most important in existence, and includes a number of rare Italian and foreign catalogues from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, as well as catalogues from recent years.
The Foundation intends to preserve and build up the heritage. Back numbers of volumes have been purchased from 1999 on, chosen to fit in with the original collection and its fields of research. Meanwhile purchase of current works has begun.
Library and reading room
The inventory and catalogue project
The library lay-out aims to keep the original arrangement of volumes so as to preserve Zeriís connections and cross-references among sections. The inventory thus observes the scholarís own order and will make it possible to distinguish the original kernel from later acquisitions.
Volumes will be catalogued in SBN (Sistema Bibliotecario Nazionale) to give the book heritage maximum visibility and web access, as well as standardising it with the Bologna University library cataloguing system. By the end of 2008 the library will be open to academic visitors.
The book reference room
The design and furnishing of the large book reference room was conceived by the architect Sergio Bettini. The space has been arranged in order to help free and quick access to the volumes all available in the open shelves and to permit consulting of the original photographs from the archive.
The vast hall covered with an ancient trussed roof extends for 450 sm. Originally used as dormitory by the novices of the convent, it is now the core of the library where are 40 seats for users, each one illuminated by led and equipped with electrical plugs, among them there are 8 fixed computers (I MAC) that allow to access the photo archive and to the library database, plus access to the internet.
The furnishing of the library was made possible thanks to a contribution by the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna.