The view of the Monumental Library

Complesso di San Giovanni Evangelista

Complesso di San Giovanni Evangelista
Parma, Italy

The Monumental Library is located in the Abbey of Saint John the Avengelist, in a room that was built in 1523. This space satisfied the renewed requirements concerning the organization of studies which the monastery had to cope with. In fact, The Monastery of Saint John the Evangelist, after having regained a new splendour with the entrance in the Congregation of Santa Giustina, became one of the nine monasteries that should act as schools for those monks who had revealed a special turn for culture. The iconographic cycle in St. John's Library was conceived by Abbot Stefano Cattaneo da Novara, with the help of Vitale da Verona. We have very scarce historical data on the painters who executed the frescoes. Both Giovanni Antonio Paganino and Ercole Pio came from Bologna. The works in the Library got probably started before the date stated in the first notarial deed: it is clearly written in a scroll ornament "July 1574", and further inscriptions on many spans show dates indicating "1573". In another scroll ornament, under the cronology of the Kings of Israel, one can read "Anno Domini 1575 Parmae", the date which indicates the end of the work. The main source of the frescoes is Benito Arias Montano's "Biblia Sacra Hebraice, Chaldaice, Graece et Latine", commissioned to him by Philip II, thus called also "Biblia Regia", printed in 1572. The Library hosts also some illuminated manuscripts from the 15th and 16th Century.


  • Title: The view of the Monumental Library
  • Location: Biblioteca Monumentale. Complesso di San Giovanni Evangelista
  • Rights: Complesso di San Giovanni Evangelista

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