In Latin, Engravings designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rome, 1631
The most visible symbol of the Renaissance of the Roman Church during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries was the destruction of Old Saint Peter's and the erection in its place, in a more classical idiom, of the famous basilica now standing in Saint Peter's Square. This was an act of colossal self-assurance that could only, perhaps, have been initiated by Pope Julius II. In other areas, too, the popes displayed a willingness to dispense with medieval traditions, to "purify" tired and "corrupt" usages by returning back to classical sources. The liturgy and hymnology of the Church, for example, received a thorough "repristinatio" during the same period. This volume is an example of this process, consisting of traditional medieval hymns such as the "Salve Regina" and the "Primum dierum omnium" rewritten in elegaic couplets in the antique fashion. It was the work of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, who later became Pope Urban VIII. It was he, in fact, who more than any other pope was responsible for the interior decoration of Saint Peter's, aided by the greatist artist of the seventeenth century, Bernini, for whose meteoric rise to fame Urban was largely responsible. It is fitting that Bernini should have designed the engravings for this deluxe reprint of Urban's early poetic effusions.
Stamp. Membr. III 8 fol. a4 recto human27 JH.25