Giulio Ferrario

Birth: 1767


Giulio Ferrario (January 28, 1767 - April 2, 1847) was an Italian author and librarian. He was born in Milan, Italy from Giovanni and from the patrician Antonia Lanzavecchia, on January 28th. 1767 and had the marquis GP Litta Visconti as its godfather at the baptismal font; already with this first official act a bond was established that would later mark Ferrario's life on several occasions. Started at the age of nine at the archiepiscopal seminary of Arona and then passed to the one in Milan, we find him from 1786 in Pavia, a student at the general seminary, officially opened in that year. Four years later, in May 1790, he graduated in utroque iure : an intense period of formation within the institution reformed by Joseph II, which would have left a mark in the young F., both for his early cultural interests and for the strongly rationalistic grain of his religiosity.

Having finally started his ecclesiastical career, after the ordination he deepened the study of the classics and the fine arts. And while his brother Vincenzo, one year younger, did not hesitate to actively intervene in the political debate of the Cisalpine triennium, F., of a more secluded temperament, dedicated himself between 1796 and 1797 to the drafting of a reasoned catalog of the Litta library.

The enterprise, of which three manuscript volumes remain, already shows some sure judgments of merit, in addition to a solid basic preparation; but, what is more interesting, also in perspective, clearly indicated the model of "bibliographer system" (p. VII) that F. proposed "to the erudite reader", that is, the paradigm classified by Bacon and then by D'Alembert, applied to the order by subjects. P, the same model found in the Project for a bibliographic catalog according to the system of human cognitions of Bacon and D ' Alembert , the first publication of F. (Milan 1802), which transfused the previous experience and which served as a title for its entry to the Brera Library.

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However, confirming his interest in bibliographic-cataloging problems, it appears that at least in the thirteen-month period of the Austro-Russian occupation (1799-1800), and perhaps even earlier, F. worked on reorganizing the funds of books and manuscripts of the suppressed monasteries in Austrian Lombardy: assignment on which the general prefect of the archives and libraries, L. Bossi, found a lot of criticism, in January 1802, for the suspicions that ran on the questionable and neglected management of this heritage in so troubled moments; without being able to ascertain the basis of these accusations, it is certain that their possible, even if partial, explanation is to be found in the resentment still alive towards those who had, for various reasons, collaborated with the invaders of the Cisalpine.

The fact is that the opposition of Bossi to the insertion of the F. in the organic Braidense was overcome, so that he was hired in July of the same year as "assistant", assigned to the compilation of the catalog by subject. Thus began his fruitful and intense work within an institution in which he professed skills of competence and dedication that he repeatedly recognized; from 1813 he became "coadjutor and treasurer" and later, under Austrian domination, he was named "first custodian" (1818), "second sub-librarian" (1820), "first sub-librarian" (1826), until he reached the direction of the death of R. Gironi, in 1838.

Just Brera, with the circle of colleagues and scholars and the practicability of the reference texts, would have favored the start of the well-known and meritorious initiative of the typographic Society of Italian classics, established in April 1802 and promoted in a special program in the July of the same year, just when the F. entered to lend his own work in the Library; from the beginning its contribution appears to be that of the "delegate member for literary objects", more genuinely oriented to the cultural side, from the first delineation of the "canon" of the texts and authors to be published (a detailed and rich Prospectus is submitted to some "learned" consultants, who examine it and rework it) to the contacts with the pre-editors-curators, from the convulsive correction of the drafts to the curation of some volumes (such as Dante's Paradise and the Decameron ); on the other hand, the same F. signed, on behalf of the other partners, various instances addressed to the government in the first, delicate moments of the take-off of the initiative.

For what transpires both from the choices expressed in the Prospectus and from the prefaces of F., we must say that we find in his options a general, explicit and prevalent harmony with the Parinian principles and proposals of a literature of serious and sober incisiveness, on which however , like a tenuous counterpoint, a taste that in a certain sense is still lingered on purist-nationalistic positions, such as the one that sheds light in the re-edition of the Book of short stories and nice talk containing a hundred ancient novels illustrated with notes taken from varj ("ci we strive to reproduce with all diligence the excellent models of the first writers related to revive the taste of the purity and elegance of our language, "against those who," put together ... already for several years to see this our noble and venerable matron dressed almost like a dancer from across the Atlantic, they suffer badly, that some try to give her back her native honor "[p. XIII], up to some appreciations, present in the preface to Dramatic Poems to Rustic Poetry , on the "loveliness" of the locutions of ancient Italian that almost conventionally border on the invocation of primitive naivety. Evidently it is, in these cases as in others, purist residues that the civil and national intent inherent in the enterprise of the Italian Classics recovers, without however they are emphasized or overvalued.

If the initiative of the Italian Classics covered the whole period of the Napoleonic period, the period of Austrian domination saw F. engaged on various fronts, in which the original approach of the librarian-bibliophile (and only secondarily philologist) applies to others enterprises, in which an uncommon erudition is combined with the popular intent and the attention towards those forms of artistic expression, from the theater to the "prints", in which a "classic" tradition meets and is fruitful with modern forms, addressed to the delight and education of the "many".

On the one hand, therefore, F. continued the effort of documenting the highest and most concentrated elaborations of Italian culture, with the collaboration at the Edition of the classic Italian works of the century. XVIII (1818-1839); for the other, he published a series of works that, out of a "high" disclosure, at least in intent, made their center of interest.

It is especially the case of the famous and monumental Ancient and Modern Costume (Milan 1817-1834), whose subtitle ("History of Government, Militia, Religion, Arts, Sciences and Customs of All Ancient and Modern Peoples tested with monuments of the 'antiquity and represented with similar drawings') gave an account of a serious and generous commitment, aimed at the "encyclopedic" systematization of a set of disparate knowledge, in which scholarship was made through "education" and "entertainment" of the reader, interested in the exotic and the different; and if sometimes the level of exposure and documentation did not live up to this disclosure, it was for the objective difficulty of covering such varied subjects and disciplines.

In its own way, the ancient and modern Costume constituted an example of erudite compilation that made school with respect to nineteenth-century "encyclopedic" publications; still up to the middle of the century, repeated extramilan reprints can be found (at least seven, up to the late 1940s), including the Florentine one of V. Batelli who undertook a correct and much cheaper re-edition in 1823, giving rise to a lively controversy with the original writer and publisher.

The twenty-one volumes of the Milan edition of the Costume certainly represent a considerable technical-compilation effort and constitute the most significant component of the editorial production of the F., which continued until the mid-1930s and which, compared with the enterprise and the cultural rigor of his brother Vincenzo, is characterized by more sporadic initiatives (sometimes, as in the case of the translations of the novels by W. Scott, with the resumption of his line), mostly aimed at theater, historical erudition or heraldry: this is the case of the publication of the famous Families of Italy by Count P. Litta. With its own presses, F. would have printed all of its production except the last effort, the Memoirs to serve the history of Milanese architecture from the decadence of the Roman Empire to the present day , published by G. Bernardoni in Milan in 1843.

"Antique" and "modern", according to the dialectic of the classic-romantic quarrel , go back to the prevailing interests of F. verso, in fact, the engravings (to which he would have dedicated a work, The classic prints from the beginning of chalcography up to the present , Milan 1835-1836) and the theater (to which he always remained faithful, both with the periodical I Teatri - ch and he founded and published with G. Barbieri and G. Ricordi and to which he collaborated for the musical and choreographic bread [1827-1829] -, both with recurrent interventions and notes, preserved among his papers, and, again, with the publication of the History and description of the main theaters, both ancient and modern [Milan 1830]: in both cases, the historical reconstruction and the value criteria that explicitly presided over these analyzes, referable to a ductile, reasonable classicism, open to the evaluation of techniques, did not prevent the comparison with forms of culture that had recently spread to the general public, precisely because of their more direct evocative and communicative capacity: hence an attention, certainly not unpublished or isolated in the culture of the time, towards the material conditions of their manifestation, from theatrical architecture to the average dimensions and costs in force in the "prints" market.

Moreover, the scholarly side of the interests of F. had not remained in the shadows at all, if works such as the sacred and profane Monuments of i were to be numbered. r . basilica of S. Ambrogio in Milan (Milan 1824), the History and analysis of the ancient cavalry novels (ibid. 1828), the Description of Palestine (ibid. 1831) and the already mentioned Memoirs to serve the history of Milanese architecture . In 1843, F., a member of the IR Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts since 1839, was appointed a retired partner, just as he had withdrawn from the Braidense position; in four years, on 2 April 1847, died in Milan.

Sources: (English)

Milan, Arch. Civic History, Families , c. 655; State Archives of Milan, Autographs , c. 126, f. 38; Ibid., Commerce , pm, cc. 334, 348; Ibid., Dono Galletti . Autographs , F, c. 48; Ibid., Studies , p. a, c. 28, f. 3; Studies , pm, c. 67, f. 10, 248 f. to; State Archives of Pavia, University . Registers , c. 810; Milan, Bibl. nat. Braidense, Mss . AE. XV. 1-3; AG. XIII. 1-8; B.C. X. 34; AG. XV. 6. 64; Aut. B. III, 70; Aut. B. XXVI. 29; Necrol. in the privileged Gazzetta of Milan , 3 April 1847, p. 369; V. Forcella, Church inscriptions , Milan 1891, pp. 91 s .; B. Perugini, Observations on the second edition of the work entitled History of Government ..., Florence 1823; F. Rossi, Historical and descriptive outline around I. R. Brera Library , Milan 1841, p. 85; G. Labus, Doctor G. F. , In Giorn . of the I. R. Istit . lomb . of sciences , letters and arts , I (1847), pp. 291-294; PF [errario], Brief notes on the funeral honors given to the priest G. F. ... on days three and six April 1847 , Milan 1847; F. Predari, Milanese encyclopedic bibliography , Milan 1857, pp. 107 s .; G. Gazzino, Chronological and bibliographical index of the illustrious Italians ..., Milan 1857, pp. 55, 434; I. Ghiron, in old Milan . Strenna of the Pio Institute of the Stunts of Milan , Milan 1888, pp. 63 s., Ad vocem ; E. Bellorini, in Enc . Ital ., XV, Rome 1932, p. 56, ad vocem ; M. Berengo, Intellectuals and booksellers in the Milan of the Restoration , Turin 1980, in Indicem ; C. Friars, Diz . bio - bibliographic , Florence 1934, pp. 221 s .; M. Parenti, Bibliographic Rares of the Nineteenth Century , Florence 1953, pp. 174 ff., 286; Id., Additions to the Bio - Bibliographic Dictionary ..., II, Florence 1959, p. 73; Catalog of Italian books of the nineteenth century ( 1801 - 1900 ), III, Milan 1991, p. 1837; VIII, ibid. 1991, pp. 6603-6607; C. Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Osterreich , IV, pp. 197 s .; G. Fumagalli, Lexicon typographicum Italiae , Florence 1905, p. 31.

Sources: (Italian)

Fonti e Bibl.: Milano, Arch. storico civico, Famiglie, c. 655; Arch. di Stato di Milano, Autografi, c. 126, f. 38; Ibid., Commercio, p. m., cc. 334, 348; Ibid., Dono Galletti. Autografi, F, c. 48; Ibid., Studi, p. a, c. 28, f. 3; Studi, p.m., c. 67, f. 10, 248 f. a; Archivio di Stato di Pavia, Universita. Registri, c. 810; Milano, Bibl. naz. Braidense, Mss. AE. XV. 1-3; AG. XIII. 1-8; AC. X. 34; AG. XV. 6. 64; Aut. B. III, 70; Aut. B. XXVI. 29; Necrol. in Gazzetta privilegiata di Milano, 3 apr. 1847, p. 369; V. Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese, Milano 1891, pp. 91 s.; B. Perugini, Osservazioni sulla seconda edizione dell'opera intitolata Storia del governo..., Firenze 1823; F. Rossi, Cenni storici e descrittivi intorno all'I. R. Biblioteca di Brera, Milano 1841, p. 85; G. Labus, Dottor G. F., in Giorn. dell'I. R. Istit. lomb. di scienze, lettere ed arti, I (1847), pp. 291-294; P. F. [errario], Brevi cenni sopra gli onori funebri resi al sacerdote G. F. ... nei giorni tre e sei aprile 1847, Milano 1847; F. Predari, Bibliografia enciclopedica milanese, Milano 1857, pp. 107 s.; G. Gazzino, Indice cronologico e bibliografico degli illustri italiani..., Milano 1857, pp. 55, 434; I. Ghiron, in Milano vecchia. Strenna del Pio Istituto dei rachitici di Milano, Milano 1888, pp. 63 s., ad vocem; E. Bellorini, in Enc. Ital., XV, Roma 1932, p. 56, ad vocem; M. Berengo, Intellettuali e librai nella Milano della Restaurazione, Torino 1980, ad Indicem; C. Frati, Diz. bio-bibliografico, Firenze 1934, pp. 221 s.; M. Parenti, Rarita bibliografiche dell'Ottocento, Firenze 1953, pp. 174 ss., 286; Id., Aggiunte al Dizionario bio-bibliografico..., II, Firenze 1959, p. 73; Catalogo dei libri italiani dell'Ottocento (1801-1900), III, Milano 1991, p. 1837; VIII, ibid. 1991, pp. 6603-6607; C. Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Osterreich, IV, pp. 197 s.; G. Fumagalli, Lexicon typographicum Italiae, Florence 1905, p. 31.


Stefano Nutini - Biographical Dictionary of Italians - Volume 46 (1996)

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