Yale University Library News

Goldman Law Library exhibition catalog receives 2019 publication award

illuminated page from 16th century Italian Law book
December 8, 2019

The catalog for a Yale law library exhibition on representations of authority in early modern Venice has received a 2019 publication award from the American Association of Law Libraries for “a significant contribution to scholarly legal literature”.

The exhibition, Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic: Images of Authority from Renaissance Venice, was curated by Mike Widener, rare book librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library and Christopher Platts (PhD, History of Art, 2018). The exhibition was displayed at the law library in 2016-17.

The publication presents 25 objects from the the law library’s rare book collection, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Selected for their visual splendor and historical significance, featured objects include illuminated manuscripts, illustrated books, prints, drawings, coins, and medals.

The catalogue, also viewable in digital form, introduces significant offices and symbols of the Venetian state, and explains how laws were crafted, debated, publicized, and—often—flouted. Images can be seen of the doge (duke) and highest magistrates of Venice, the governors appointed to rule the Republic’s far-flung territories, the lawmakers in the Senate, and the lawbreakers consigned to prison or to serve as oarsmen on the galleys that fueled Venetian power and prosperity.

Image: Institutio in potestatem civitatis Bergomi data Laurentii Venerio ab Andrea Griti duce Venetiarum. 1524. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment. Rare Book Collection, Yale Law Library. MssJ V53 no.1 v.4 (Rare26 11-0287 v.4).