This talk will delve into the concept of “paper-monument”, by exploring the extraordinary case of the Tesoro Messicano and its complex making. This archive of written and visual natural knowledge from the new worlds was made public in Rome in 1651 as a significant inheritance of the contended Francisco Hernandez’s papers, i.e. an amazing bulk of materials elaborated and collected by the Proto-physician of Philip II during his field trip in Mexico and Peru in 1570s and later reshaped between Madrid, Naples and Rome.
This analysis combines close attention to the material configuration of such a paper artefact with an intensive exploration of writing practices and visual representation dynamics in early Baroque Rome. It is argued that the Tesoro Messicano has continuously renegotiated between both its makers and different readers through times and spaces its own double configuration as new worlds natural history and monumental evidence of the Baroque Papal city and its multiple competing patrimonialisations.
In order to approach the Tesoro messicano as an intermedial paper artefact, and to map its double nature of printed book and paper monument, the exemplar kept in the state library of Lucca will be involved. This in presence activity may be considered part and parcel of a tentative global census of the Tesoro Messicano meant as a networked-thinking practice.
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