Books are a reflection of our values, interests, and tastes. In particular, this exhibition focuses on the book as a mirror of art, as a mirror of culture, and as a mirror of our passions.
We have all been told that we should not judge a book by its cover, but we must realize that books are objects as well as vehicles of knowledge and entertainment. Through the ages books have often been embellished, and they have become valued as any other aesthetic part of our lives. Books appeal to the side our personalities that enjoy looking at and handling things, separate from the experience of reading the text.
Books represent the time and place in which they were created and disseminated. They reveal how society thought about, interacted with, and utilized the information available to them. Through an examination of books written and printed over the last millenium, we can begin to view the world through the eyes of individuals who have left us the physical manifestation of their craft and knowledge.
From ancient Rome to England to the United States, the book has become an object for the passionate collector to acquire, treasure, and pass on to future generations. Over the centuries, with the increasing availability and decreasing price of books, more and more people, private individuals, could dream of possessing their own copies of books. Individuals collect what appeals to their personal tastes, a particular niche from which to expand or to go into in greater depth. Their collections end by mirroring their passions.
Learn more and see highlights from the exhibition in the catalog below.