The project

The most beautiful books in the world ilprogetto

To gather together into a single collection the most beautiful codices of all time is a dream that nobody, not even a renaissance prince, would have thought possible. “The Impossible Library” turns this dream into reality: a series unique in the world gathers together the most precious volumes, the rarest and most refined manuscripts, all reproduced in their entirety in facsimiles rigorously faithful to the originals, in limited and numbered editions. The volumes of commentary, composed by the foremost experts, guide the reader to the discovery of the codex and of all its precious details. An extraordinary patrimony of beauty and knowledge has thus been rescued from oblivion so as to be transmitted to future generations with all its historical, artistic and cultural values.

For many centuries the book represented a unique object, one that might be copied yet remained unrepeatable, and was thus a good that was absolutely precious, costly and to be preserved as a treasure. Throughout the Middle Ages the book was for the most part reserved to ecclesiastical uses, or to the domain of scholarship. In the Renaissance, especially in Italy and France, the book played an important role as a precious object in the culture of the new dominant class, at first noble and then bourgeois and mercantile. The great aristocratic families, such as the Visconti, the Sforza, the Medici, the Montefeltro, the Estensi, the Gonzaga or the Farnese, assembled fabulous libraries, attracting to their courts the foremost scribes and illuminators of the age.

The idea of gathering the most beautiful exemplars of this immense patrimony into a single collection was for centuries an unattainable dream. But the amazing progress made in recent years in the technology of facsimile reproduction has made possible something hitherto unimaginable: the creation of perfect copies indistinguishable from the originals. The dream of every book lover can thus become true: to form an Impossible Library of the world’s most beautiful books.

To decide which books have the right to be part of this Library is an arduous task and in the end a subjective one: we all have our own idea of an Impossible Library. Franco Cosimo Panini has accepted a very particular challenge: to put together an Impossible Library of the great Italian families, assembling the most important masterpieces created for the noble houses that enriched our civilization during that extraordinary flowering of art and culture that was the Italian Renaissance.


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