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Ricardo Fernández Gracia, Director of the Chair of Navarrese Heritage and Art.

Heritage and identity (18). Excellent books with unique destinations

Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:59:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

Books and libraries are an essential part of the heart of the West. Their knowledge is fundamental when studying mentalities and the transmission of knowledge. Francis Bacon, three centuries ago, recalled that "vain and indolent people affect to despise letters, simple men admire them without touching them, and wise men use and honor them". Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote: "He who reads a lot and walks a lot, sees a lot and knows a lot"; Saint Teresa argued her fondness for books as follows: "Read and you will lead, don't read and you will be led" and the bishop-king Don Juan de Palafox, repeated: "Books are good friends, they entertain and profit, they amuse and unwind. If they tire, they can be left. If they rest, they can be continued. They always teach and, quietly, without insult, they reproach".

The knowledge of everything related to the book, in Navarre, has in the works of the Jesuit Antonio Pérez Goyena (1863-1962) a deep-rooted foundation, to which we must add the solid and pampered programs of study of Javier Itúrbide. Some libraries of Navarrese personalities are being studied, while those of the Cistercian monasteries have merited a conscientious and exemplary monograph by Professor Isabel Ostolaza. The presence in the Library Services of Navarre of works from those libraries, such as some copies from Fitero, studied by Roberto San Martín, constitutes a sample of the interest that these bibliographic treasures possess.

Currently, in a context with very powerful competitors -video games and social networks-, the book, as an object of knowledge and fundamental in the training staff and social, seems to lose its place, in the face of the search for simple and fun entertainment, which is gaining ground. Therefore, it is necessary to vindicate books in their different formats, since what they contain cannot disappear, replacing the animi culture, in Ciceronian expression, with a much poorer one, which only seeks entertainment.

Handwritten notes of holders, acquisitions and gifts

The enquiry of books from different libraries and manuscript inventories, as well as the database of the Collective Catalogue of the Bibliographic Heritage of Navarre, provide the sources of information to make the small history of some copy, turned into unicum, for having contributed to the vital experience and to the training staff of some specific men and women.

In many cases, the amount the volume cost is noted, such as the 24 reales that the treatise on architecture by Juan Caramuel (Francofurti, J. G. Schônwetteri, 1654), now in the Library Services of Navarra, acquired in Zaragoza for the monastery of Fitero, cost. More rarely, other methods of payment are indicated. An example of this is written in the copy of the History of the Conquest of Mexico (Barcelona, Josep Llopis, 1691) of the Library Services of Roncesvalles, on whose previous flyleaf we read: "This book belongs to Dn. Francisco Luis Martinez, Canon of Roncesvalles, which I bought from Maria Juana Yribarren for three masses on October 30, 1846". Also in the Theatro Trinitario de fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios (Pamplona, Juan José Ezquerro, 1705) of the Library Services de Capuchinos, it is noted that the copy: "It is of the use of Fr. Martin Salvatierra Pred(icador) Conv(entual) in that of N. P. S. Fran(cisco) de Sanguesa year of 1784. It cost him six missas and after he concluded his Guard(iania), he left it to this Libreria de Sanguesa. Year of 1794".

On many occasions, the annotation refers to the ownership and possible loss of the volume. In general, the name of the possessor and little else is noted, but on some occasions the apostille is longer, as in the Cartas de favor en nombre de Maria Santissima de fray Antonio Garcés (Pamplona, Pasqual Ibáñez, 1755) of the Library Services Decanal de Tudela, where it is indicated in a handwritten grade of 1810: "This book belongs to Santiago Tegada, if it is lost as it usually happens, I beg whoever finds it to return it to me, he will be given two quarters for candy and if he does not know his name, I will put it here below, Santiago Tegada is my name".

Some owners did not hesitate to write some personal circumstances in the commentaries. Thus the monk from Tudela of the monastery of Fitero, Fray Jacinto Arellano, in a work of the Dominican Paolo Barbo, edited in Salamanca in 1580 and preserved in the Library Services of Navarra, wrote in the back cover, as if it were a diary: "Fr. Jacinto de Arellano took the habit in Santa María de Fitero on March 20, 1614, sang mass on October 16, 1622". The signature of the aforementioned monk, who arrived at Fitero when he was 16 years old, appears in a hundred books of the Library Services of Navarra, many with the annotation of having been expurgated in 1640.

There is no lack of news of the donors in other copies from all over subject. An example is the Biblia Políglota de la Library Services del seminar de Pamplona (Alcalá de Henares, Arnao Guillén de Brocar, 1514), from the high school of the Society of Jesus in the Navarrese capital, which belonged to the Pamplona canon Jerónimo de Eguía, son of the printer Miguel de Eguía. In his handwritten annotation we read: "This book, with three other Bible books, was given as alms to this high school of the Comp[añí]a de Jesús de Pamplona by Sºr Don Hieronymo de Eguia, infirmarian of the C[atedral] of this city and on the condition that it could not be ... [lle]var of this collegio ... April 1, 1589".

Among the curiosities that can be found in the book covers, it is worth mentioning those related to works under suspicion or forbidden. In the edition of the book Jesus-Christo gure Jaunaren Testament Berria ( Bayonne, 1828) of the Library Services of Roncesvalles, property of Don Agustín Apesteguía, chaplain of Ezpoz y Mina, its new possessor left written: "This book is prohibited for not having the due notes nor the necessary approval ... I have licence to make use of the Angel María de Arizmendi".

Magnificently published liturgical books: a case in point

Of the endowment of Don Juan de Ciriza, Marquis of Montejaso, to his foundation of Recoletas of Pamplona gives good account the correspondence and an inventory, where the pieces that arrived to the Navarrese capital are gathered. Some letters place us before a person dedicated to the smallest details, to please the nuns who had recently arrived from Eibar to establish the cloister. The Marquis had a provider of singular pieces in Madrid, called Francisco Perez. The latter wrote to him in September 1634, informing him of the arrival of the large missal from the Plantiniana printing house "of the most modern printing and the best thing I have ever seen in my life; here it will not be found anywhere else ..., it will be bound and I will send it the first time". The Marquis answered him urging him to send it. The sentences are quite illustrative of the taste and exceptionality of the pieces that were arriving at the cloister, thanks to the outstanding means of their patrons and their knowledge of the fashions and courtly airs. The missal, with delicate engravings, has been preserved and is published in Antwerp in the same year of 1634, with the following imprint: Ex officina Balthasaris Moreti.

Copies of the illustrated edition of the Life of St. Bernard, 1587.

At the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the following century, when the great European printers carried out publishing projects with excellent intaglio illustrations, their elegance dazzled individuals and institutions. That luxury would not reach the Spanish and Navarrese presses until the following century, in plenary session of the Executive Council reign of Charles III, so that illustrated copies were coveted throughout the sixteenth century. Nobles and high ecclesiastics, with high purchasing power, were able to obtain those pieces with images, in a context in which time was abundant, and those who approached them "made of contemplation something useful, therapeutic, that elevated their spirit, brought them comfort and inspired fear" (D. Freedberg).

The religious orders, in Rome or Antwerp, commissioned illustrated lives of their founders that were circulated throughout Europe and America, and their compositions were copied in paintings and sculptural reliefs. The handwritten inscriptions of some books allow us to know the particular history of their acquisition and arrival at their destinations.

The one corresponding to St. Bernard, published in Rome in 1587, with the degree scroll de Vita et miracula divi Bernardi Clarevalensis abbatis, was made possible thanks to the Cistercian Congregation of the Crown of Castile and the sponsorship of Cardinal Jerónimo Rusticucio, protector of the Spanish Bernardines. It was conceived, to a large extent, as an illustration of the Vita Prima de San Bernardo, the most important hagiographic text referring to the saint, of which Fray Juan Álvaro Zapata, monk and future abbot of the monastery of Veruela, published a version at Spanish in 1597. The models of his prints are due to the invention of the famous Antonio Tempesta and their execution to Querubino Alberti, Filippo Galle and other outstanding engravers.

Currently, there are two copies of that edition in Navarre, one in Tulebras and the other in La Oliva, the latter with delicate calligraphic annotations on the backs of the stamps. In the case of the latter having belonged to the aforementioned monastery before the Disentailment, those texts must have been written by Father Compaño, a monk from Poblet, a book writer, who was sent by Abbot Esteban Guerra (1585-1588) to make some beautiful cantorales for the Divine official document .

Of Tulebras, we know all about its particular history, thanks to a long handwritten registration on the back of one of its engravings. It was acquired in Rome, in 1633, by the canon of the cathedral of Pamplona and archdeacon of Santa Gema, Bernardo Ladrón de Cegama, warning that it contained "cinquenta y seis foxas con estampas finas". Upon his death, it passed to his nephew Juan Luis Ladrón de Cegama who occupied the same dignity since 1646. When the latter died, it went to the Calaguritan canon Laurencio Ladrón de Cegama, who gave it in 1663 to the nun of Tulebras, Ángela Díez de Ulzurrun y Berrozpe, "and after her days, if there should be a niece of mine in said convent, she should leave it and if there is none, it should be left for the said convent of Tulebras". A later annotation of 1683, picks up this apostille: "For the aforementioned reason, and in fulfillment of the clause and will of Canon Cegama, this book passed to the power of Mrs. Ángela Ysabel Díez de Ulzurrun y Vea, religious also of the Royal Monastery of Tulebras, niece of all the aforementioned, who took the holy habit in November of 1683" and was abbess, exceptionally, during four quadrenniums.

Another copy also arrived in Fitero, as attested by paintings of different altarpieces, which copy the prints of the aforementioned book.

For a Discalced Carmelite nun, writer and humanist

Two copies of both illustrated works, published in Antwerp with excellent plates, arrived at the convent of the Descalzas in the Navarrese capital, then located at place del Castillo. The cause was none other than the presence there of Leonor de la Misericordia (Ayanz y Beaumont, 1551-1620), who had acquired in her youth an exquisite humanist training with Doña Brianda de Beaumont, daughter of the Constable of Navarra, remembered by Lope de Vega in La Arcadia ( 1598), as "la divina doña Brianda, gloria de Beaumonte" (the divine Doña Brianda, glory of Beaumonte). Leonor's siblings stood out for different reasons and among them, Jerónimo de Ayanz, a multifaceted man, military, painter, cosmographer, musician and inventor, precursor of the use and design of steam engines and air conditioning. 

Leonor wrote the life of Mother Catherine of Christ, foundress in Pamplona and Barcelona, and corresponded with members of her Order, stationed in different parts of Europe, as well as with other great men of politics and the Church. Father Gracián, confessor of St. Teresa, described Leonor as follows: "Inwardly she was a seraph of condition and soul, and outwardly an angel of face and good grace. She had skill rare in writing, painting, knowing Latin and in the other labors and exercises of women, accompanying with manly prudence"

The first singular book that arrived at the Pamplona Carmel through his initiative was the Historia evangélica by the Jesuit Jerónimo Nadal (Antwerp, 1593), one of the most relevant European publishing enterprises at the end of the 16th century, because of its illustrations and its catechetical purpose, in the context of the Counter-Reformation and the special effort of the Society of Jesus to use images in its method of prayer and catechesis. A handwritten registration in it reads: "This book of the engravings of the Life of Christ Our Lord, which belonged to Don Frances, my brother, whom God has, and now belongs to Don Geronimo de Ayanz, my nephew, whom I beg you to do me the favor of lending it to the sisters of this convent of Discalced Carmelites of San Joseph of Pamplona when they ask for it. Leonor de la Misericordia. It contains 153 engravings". Then, in a different handwriting, another hand wrote: "Don Geronimo gave it to the Community". The first owner of the copy was Don Francés de Ayanz y Beaumont (1552-1614), Leonor's older brother, Lord of Guendulain, educated as a page of Philip II, Sheriff in the Court and committee of Navarre and with seat in the Courts of the Kingdom.

The second volume jealously guarded by the Carmelites is the editio princeps of the first illustrated life of Saint Teresa of Jesus, printed in Antwerp in 1613, on the eve of her beatification, at the initiative of the order and especially of the Discalced nuns established in Flanders, where there was a great tradition in the art of engraving. That edition was promoted by Mother Ana de Jesús Lobera, prioress of Brussels, and the aforementioned Father Gracián, in 1611. The engravers who received the commission were Adrian Collaert and Corniellis Galle, both known for having undertaken important projects, especially the former who produced the illustrated lives of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis of Assisi.