Library of Humanistic Studies

Books and humanistic culture

A collection of bibliographic works on the themes of the Renaissance Humanism, were we can find an important group of writings, formulated by great thinkers and authors as Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Poliziano, Marsilio Ficino, Erasmus of Rotterdam and Sir Thomas More. In regard of Portuguese Humanism, the focus is on the issues related to the Discoveries, from which he promoted the study of works from Luís de Camões, André de Resende, Damião de Góis, Luís António Verney, Francisco de Sá de Miranda and Bernardim Ribeiro.

Included in this library are about 1100 Rare Books from which stand out the 9 incunabula, the 90 works printed by the humanist Aldo Manuzio and his successors, the 600 titles printed in the 16th century, and some bibliographic treasures as for their rarity or beauty of printing and binding. The remaining bibliography of about 8.000 volumes serve as support for the study of classical texts and their themes, in particular, the History of the Book, its materiality, reading habits and circulation of ideas and values, giving to this Library of Humanistic Studies a proper place for study, researchers' meeting and sharing love stories regarding rare books.

The Humanistic Studies Archive

The Humanistic Studies Archive includes several documents, dated between the 15th and 20th centuries, and related to the Portuguese culture and history. Noteworthy are the manuscripts of royal letters from kings D. Afonso V (1432-1481) and D. Manuel I (1469-1521), the inventories of the House of Tapada, built in 1540 by Francisco de Sá de Miranda (1481-1558), and even the archival funds of scholars Francisco Marques de Sousa Viterbo (1845-1910) and Carolina Michaëlis de Vasconcelos (1851-1925).

José Vitorino de Pina Martins (1920-2010)

In 2008, the Bank acquired from the family of professor José Vitorino de Pina Martins (1920-2010) he's private library. Over decades of intense academic labor at home and abroad, Professor Pina Martins brought together one of Portugal's most important bibliographical collections and professionally he promoted the study of the Renaissance's book and its texts.

Born in Penalva de Alva, the 18th January 1920, Professor Pina Martins made his studies in the fields of Classical Philology and Romance Philology at the University of Coimbra between 1942 and 1947. He developed the study of English literature, Spanish, French and Italian, having held teaching functions of Portuguese Language and Literature at the University of Rome (1948-1955) at the University of Poitiers (1955-1962) and at the Faculty of Literature, University of Lisbon (1962-1972 and 1983-1994?). On the 19th December 1974, he presented at the University of Paris (La Sorbonne Nouvelle) his doctoral dissertation based on the Italian humanist's work of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

As a recognized scholar he researched various library collections in Portugal, Italy and France, organized and directed several courses, conferences, seminars, bibliographical exhibitions and publications. He was also director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at the Portuguese Cultural Centre in Paris (1972-1983) and, returning to Lisbon, of the Education Service. He also became President of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon and was a member of several cultural and academic institutions. Preserved at the Cultural Heritage Management of the NOVO BANCO, unit responsible for its preservation, conservation and divulgation, in accordance with the appropriate technical parameters, and although it's private domain, the Library of Humanistic Studies is open for consultation of experts and researchers.


Horace, Works, Venice, Aldo Manuzio, 1501 

This is an example of the Aldine typography, decisive in the development of books and reading habits, using the elegant cursive type invented by Aldus Manutius (1452-1515) and designed by Francesco Griffo. The publisher and humanist printer sought to educate the Europe of his time through the dissemination of classical texts and accessibility of manageable volumes. The quality of Aldine edition print is here valued by beautiful French 19th century binding, signed by Charles Capé (1806-1867), with decoration inspired by the aldine elements.

THOMAS MORE, Utopia, with an introductory text by Guillaume Budé. [Paris, 1517]

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), one of the most fascinating humanist figures in the history of European culture, wrote some of the fundamental texts of the Renaissance. True to his Christian conscience, serenely faced death for which he was convicted. This second edition of Utopia, a fundamental text of Western thought, included the work's first review by Guillaume Budé.

GARCILASO DE LA VEGA, Works. [Lisbon], Manoel de Lyra, 1587

Unique copy known in the world of an edition of Garcilaso's poetry printed in Lisbon, proving that the Spanish poet, so appreciated by Sá de Miranda, was widely read in Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries.

LUÍS DE CAMÕES, Os Lusíadas [The Lusiads], commented by Manoel Correa. Lisbon, Pedro Craesbeeck, 1613

The first commented edition of the Lusiads with a transcription of the oldest known biography of Camões, written by Pedro de Mariz.

Letter of King Afonso V. Santarém, 21st April, 1462

Manuscript on vellum of a royal decree written to the chronicles author Gomes Eanes de Azurara. The King Afonso V was educated by Italian humanists and was known to have a very precious library. This document shows that the palatine library was opened to public consultation.