“MACHINAE NOVAE – 400 Years Later”: Opening of the NUL exhibition highlighting the major work of Faust Vrančić
MACHINAE NOVAE – 400 Years Later, the NUL exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of the major work of Faust Vrančić, a notable Croatian inventor and constructor at the turn of the 17th century, will open on 10 November 2015.
Machinae novae is one of the most important works in the field of engineering from the beginning of the 17th century. Its 49 copperplate prints present 56 inventions and technical constructions, including several projects by other authors which Vrančić thought could be incorporated in his work or serve as an inspiration for other, even more advanced innovations.
Apart from Vrančić’s native Šibenik, the original copy of this invaluable work is preserved in the Manuscripts and Old Books Collection of the National and University Library in Zagreb, which provided an ideal occasion for the Library to organise and host a special exhibition and in this way remind both the national and international audience of this major work of the Croatian, but also European Renaissance. The Library organised this special exhibition in partnership with the Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb, Juraj Šižgorić City Library from Šibenik and the National and University Library in Zagreb Foundation. Marijana Borić, Research Associate at the Division for the History of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, cooperated closely with the Library’s exhibition team as a consulting editor for all exhibition materials.
The original copy of Machinae novae will be on public display only at the opening of the exhibition, while throughout the remaining part of the exhibition period visitors will be able to see its accurate copy, also held as part of the Library’s Manuscripts and Old Books Collection, as well as its digitised version, available on the Library’s Digitised Heritage website, which brings a selection of the Library’s greatest treasures in digital form. The central part of the exhibition will feature the entire collection of works displayed at the exhibition held at the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb during May 2015 as part of the Museum’s Science Festival. Visitors will be led to this central part of the exhibition by following a series of floor graphics linking various interesting chronologically ordered details from the life and work of Faust Vrančić to resources on Vrančić preserved in the Library’s collections.
With its partners in this project, the National and University Library in Zagreb has also prepared a number of events accompanying the exhibition, using the advantages of modern technology and contemporary media to bring the exhibition’s visitors closer to Vrančić’s ideas as well as to the atmosphere surrounding his life, so strongly marked by the spirit of the Renaissance.
The organisation of this exhibition resulted in the preparation of a related online exhibition on Vrančić’s life and work, and especially his Machina novae.
The importance of this anniversary has also been acknowledged by UNESCO, which included it in its 2014/2015 programme supporting the marking of important anniversaries and whose Croatian office, the Croatian Commission for UNESCO, funded the exhibition.
The MACHINAE NOVAE – 400 Years Later exhibition will be held as part of the 2015 Croatian Book Month programme, with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The National and University Library in Zagreb wishes to express its special gratitude to the Croatian History Museum and Šibenik City Museum for generously ceding their equipment and resources.
The exhibition will be on view until 30 November 2015.