The Library of the National Academy of San Luca is located inside the historic building of Palazzo Carpegna, between Via del Tritone and the Trevi Fountain, in the historic centre. It houses two ancient and prestigious art libraries, the Academic Library and the Sarti Roman Municipal Library, different in history and administrative nature but connected today in a single service that offers scholars and students a heritage of over 50,000 volumes, including works from the past and current affairs in the field of painting, sculpture and architecture, accompanied by periodic publications relating to Fine Arts.
The Academic Library was born and developed with the Academy itself, so much so that already in the Statutes of 1607, with the approval of Monsignor Fedeli, Vice-Regent, the commitment of the academic body to increase the library collection is expressly requested. As a result of these donations, a documentary heritage of great artistic and scientific value has been created over time, which still continues to grow today through donations and purchases. Among the most valuable historical documents in the possession of the Library, the complete series of engravings by G.B. Piranesi donated personally by the artist in 1761 upon his appointment as a member of the Academy. Also of great importance are the four books On the symmetry of human bodies by A. Dürer, in a precious folio edition of 1591 printed in Venice.
The Sarti Roman Municipal Library, on the other hand, was inaugurated in 1881 by the will of the architect Antonio Sarti da Budrio, President of the Academy from 1860 to 1863, who wanted to offer citizens his own collection of books making it the patrimony of the Municipality of Rome. Thus, a first public library was established in Rome, the recent capital of Italy, prefiguring a free opening that anticipated the concept of "public" which only became established towards the end of the twentieth century. The collection shows Antonio Sarti's multiple interests and reflects his passion for research.The entire original collection, of about 10,000 volumes, is denoted by the value and refinement of the printed texts and manuscripts, with a nucleus of ancient works from the 16th to the 19th century concerning the study of art, architecture, archeology, classical antiquities, the lives of illustrious men, the stories of cities and towns in Italy. Among the valuable documents preserved we remember the four albums of ink and watercolor sketches by the painter Carlo Labruzzi, active between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which in the images recreate a journey of other times along the ancient Via Appia, from the gates of Rome to Benevento , between Roman ruins and glimpses of rural views. Today, the Sarti Roman Library, within the Capitoline Administration, is part of the Institution Libraries of Rome.
Photo credits: courtesy of National Academy of San Luca official site
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