Friday, November 19, 2010

Respect My Authoritah!

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Spain, ruler of half of Europe and a goodly portion of the New World, may not have respected Cartman's "authoritah" but he would have agreed with the sentiment. This grant of arms to Nicholas de Almacan of Arequipa, Peru, from May 14, 1552, features Charles V in the center of the illuminated border.  Facing the reader, he is flanked by an image of Caesar on the right and the conquistador Pizarro on the left, both ceding their authority to him though their gaze.  The highly decorated initial letter adds another lay of authority to the document: it contains the crest of the arms of the House of Habsburg.

The recipient of the coat of arms was a conquistador who fought with Pizarro and established himself in Peru. The image of Pizarro is a true rarity: perhaps his only known life portrait.  The coat of arms is displayed in the text, and the whole is framed with images of conquest and the New World's bounty.

To see this remarkable document, ask for Lansburgh 15.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dancing with Vesalius

One of our favorite books here in Rauner Library is Andreas Vesalius's De Humani corporis fabrica libri septem (Basileae: Ex officina Ioannis Oporini, 1543). The web is full of great information about the book, so we won't wax poetical about it, but we are excited to announce that it has inspired the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble. They will be performing this Friday, November 19, at 3:30 inside the glass box, and we will have Vesalius out in one of our display cases.  Here is the Dance Ensemble's description of the event:

The Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble will be performing behind the glass on three of the levels of the protected environment housing the priceless collection of books.

The theme of the performance is based on Andreas Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica (On the structure of the human body) anatomical illustrations of the dissected body circa 1543. This extraordinary book is in the Rauner Special Collections and was displayed in the atrium gallery area of Baker Library last year. The anatomical drawings have inspired the group choreography conceived by ensemble member Mayuka Kowaguchi '11.

This will mark the first dance performance event, which utilizes and features the unique architecture of Rauner Library.

We hope to see you there!

And, if you ever want to see the book, just ask for Rare QM25.V4