Tuesday is Books & Libraries Day at the River Houses. Today (6 March) is the birthday of the great Renaissance painter, sculptor, and architect Michelangelo (1475–1564). Take a few homeschool minutes today to explore one of his architectural masterpieces, the Laurentian Library (La Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) in Florence, Italy:
The Laurentian Library occupies the upper floors of the Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze, and it contains thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts and early books. Michelangelo designed the library to house (and show off) the collections of the Medici family. It was not fully completed until 1571, several years after Michelangelo’s death.
“The importance of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, with its collection of nearly 11,000 manuscripts, is based mainly on two converging factors, both extraordinary: the specific nature of the Library’s holdings and the character of its building, which was planned and partly realized by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The story of this Library, from its core collection (the Medici’s private library) to the various acquisitions which followed, has in fact been influenced by a constant aim, viz. the possession of books of a highly textual or esthetical quality.” (www.bmlonline.it)
Like everything else in the world today, Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library even has its own Facebook page — why not give it a browse, and maybe even a “like”:
Your local library may not be as grand as the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, but it has its treasures, too. What educational discoveries have you made at your library lately?
❡ Explore more: For a quick review of the role of Florence and the other Italian city-states in the growth of Europe, turn to pages 208–209 in your River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books), and for an illustrated outline of the historical period known as the Renaissance — Michelangelo was one of its leading figures — see pages 250–253.
❡ Books in the running brooks: The sidebar on the River Houses website (riverhouses.org) has links to several important online library collections that we like to explore. The WorldCat Library Finder (worldcat.org/libraries) will help you find all the libraries in your local area — there may be more than you realize — and the WorldCat catalog itself (worldcat.org) will help you locate the nearest copy of almost any book in the world. 😊