Ambrosian Library, Milan, Italy; founded c.1605 by Cardinal Federigo Borromeo. Named for Milan's patron saint, it was one of the first libraries to be open to the public. Its earliest collection was a group of codices in Greek, Latin, Latin Vulgate, and various Asian languages that originated in a number of religious institutions. Other holdings came from prominent 16th–19th-century scholars and bibliophiles. Among its noted possessions are numerous classical manuscripts, e.g., Homer and Vergil; Asian texts; incunabula ; palimpsests; the 5th-century Ilias picta manuscript; the Virgilio illustrated by Simone Martini; the Irish and the Provençal codices; the De prospectiva pingendi by Piero della Francesca; and da Vinci's Codex atlanticus. The Ambrosian Library also has a notable art gallery, est. 1618, housing more than 1,500 works of art.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Libraries, Books, and Printing