Exhibit | November 2, 2018

Boston Athenæum Showcases Holdings From and About Venice

Boston—The Boston Athenæum announced today a pair of complementary pop-up exhibitions open to the public on its first floor: Stampato a Venezia/Printed in Venice and Ecco Venezia/Behold Venice. Both will remain on view through February 16, 2019.

Stampato a Venezia/Printed in Venice celebrates Venetian printers’ artistry and craftsmanship as the powerful republic rapidly built its dominance in an emerging book trade. The technology of printing on a press using moveable metal type arrived in Venice in 1469, less than two decades after Johann Gutenberg started printing his first Bible in Germany. The items on display at the Athenæum, printed in the prosperous maritime center between 1471-1551, are drawn from the library’s special collections and offer visitors a rare opportunity to see historic and beautiful printed objects. On display are master printers’ editions of works by Aristotle,  Dante Alighieri, Marco Polo, Saint Catherine of Siena, Sebastiano Serlio, and Baldassarre Castiglione, among others, as well as 16th-century depictions of the city and exemplars of typographic and design innovations.

Ecco Venezia/Behold Venice! brings together rare and finely printed items that express visitors’ fascination with the legendary city: lyrical travel narratives, grand architecture, romantic scenery, and, of course, gondolas and canals. Highlights include writings by Joseph Brodsky and Jan Morris (along with a corrected typescript revealing Morris’ working methods) as well as depictions of Venice from a first-edition John Ruskin (1851) alongside evocative modern-day illustrations. The Athenæum takes pride in offering curatorial experiences to young professionals; this show was curated by Rare Books and Manuscripts Research Assistant Adriene Galindo with the advice of John Buchtel, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections.

“For our first Athenæum exhibitions, Adriene and I chose rare holdings from and about Venice,” said Buchtel. “They tell compelling stories about technology and art, manifest their makers’ love of beauty and learning, and open a portal to an extraordinary time and place. They also evoke the grand passions and adventures of avid Boston book collectors from the 1840s to the present.”


The Boston Athenæum, a leading membership library and cultural center, first opened its doors in 1807 as a reading room, with readers including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Amy Lowell. Today, the Athenæum remains a vibrant hybrid institution that serves members and other curious minds. Encompassing an expansive circulating library, rich collections of paintings and rare materials for research and enjoyment, quiet spaces for reading and reflection, and serving as a forum for lively discourse, the Athenæum is a distinct cultural treasure in the heart of Boston.

Public Hours

Tuesdays 12noon-8pm

Wednesdays through Saturdays 10am-4pm

General Admission

Adults (ages 13 and up) $10

Students and Military $8

EBT Card to Culture $2

Children (ages 12 and under) Free

Boston Athenæum Members Free