Vatican Library Vatican City about 1892

Vatican Library Vatican City about 1892

THE VATICAN LIBRARY, ROME — The world owes much to the enlightened and art-loving Popes who have made the Vatican not merely the abode of the Pontiff of the Catholic Church, but a wonderful treasure-house of art, where are preserved many of the grandest statues of antiquity and some of the finest paintings of the Renaissance. Moreover, its library is one of the most valuable in the world, and makes upon the traveler’s mind a profound impression. The Grand Hall is no less than 240 feet in length and 52 in breadth. The pavement is of marble mosaic, the ceilings are resplendent with elaborate frescoes, and everywhere we see magnificent presents given by royal admirers to various Popes. Among these are vases of porphyry, urns of malachite, gold crosses, and solid silver candelabra. But these are merely external decorations for the hidden treasures of this library. Here are about 24,000 manuscripts of inestimable value, some of them being the earliest copies which we have of the Gospels. Besides these there are more than 50,000 printed books. The manuscripts and rarer volumes are not often exposed to view, but are contained within beautifully decorated cases. Among the scholars of the world who have often consulted the archives of this Vatican Library is Pope Leo XIII, whose accomplishments and tastes are highly literary. His letters and addresses are framed in most elegant and polished Latin, while verses which he writes from time to time in Latin or Italian, have earned for him the title of a poet. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)



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