Isabelle de Conihout will be coming to speak at the Françoise and Georges Selz Lectures on 18th- and 19th-Century French Decorative Arts and Culture on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. Her talk is entitled “Cardinal Mazarin: A Great Collector of Art and Books in Seventeenth-Century France.”

Isabelle de Conihout is currently the Curator of Rare Books at the Bibliothèque Mazarine in Paris. She studied at the École Nationale des Chartes in Paris and has thirty years’ experience with collections of early modern and rare books in libraries throughout France. While her research is mainly devoted to the history of bookbinding and book collecting, she is also interested in literary first editions, botany, cabinets de curiosités, and illustrated books. For the celebration of the anniversary of Cardinal Mazarin’s birth, she organized the 2002 exhibition, Le cardinal, la Fronde et le bibliothécaire: les trente plus beaux livres de Mazarin, and a four-day international colloquium held in the Institut de France. With the assistance of art historian Patrick Michel, the papers from the colloquium were published in 2006 as Mazarin, les lettres et les arts.

Cardinal Jules Mazarin (1602-1661) succeeded his mentor, Cardinal de Richelieu, as the chief minister of France from 1642 until his death, due to the everlasting trust he enjoyed for twenty years from the Regent Queen of France, Anne of Austria, the young Louis XIV’s mother. In spite of the political crisis and Civil War (the Fronde), he gathered an enormous collection that reflected his Italian origins and international connections. Mazarin was a noted collector of art—including paintings, antiquities, tapestries, jewels and cups in rock crystal, jasper, lapis lazuli and similar semi-precious stones—and his properties formed the nucleus of the French royal collections in the eighteenth century. Mazarin was also prominent in the field of book collecting. His personal library, the most important and the first opened to the public in seventeenth-century France, was built and ruled by the famous Gabriel Naudé (1600-1653) and is the origin of the Bibliothèque Mazarine in Paris.

Light Refreshments: 5:45 pm

Lecture: 6:00-8:00 pm

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early to guarantee a seat.