Biblioteca di Strahov IV, Praga

Archival Lambda Color Photograph

Signed, titled, dated and from edition of 5 on artist’s label on verso.

Available in 3 sizes: 100 x 120 cm. (39.4 x 47.2 in.), 120 x 150 cm. (47.2 x 59.1 in.), 180 x 225 cm. (70.9 x 88.6 in.)

In Massimo Listri’s photograph “Biblioteca di Strahov IV, Praga,” there is no carpet adorning the floor. An open door at the end of the room bathes the space in light, while another partially opened door suggests the continuation of the library’s collection. This scene captures the allure of exploration and discovery within the hallowed halls of Strahov Abbey’s library.

On the other hand, in “Biblioteca di Strahov I, Praga,” the shot follows the length of the room, tracing the path of a green carpet illuminated by light filtering in from the right-hand side. The Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov, founded in 1143 by Bishop Jindrich Zdik, boasted a library from its earliest days. Over time, through endowments, bequests, and acquisitions, its holdings grew, encompassing important academic and scientific literature. By the late 18th century, the Bibliotheca Strahoviensis was esteemed as Bohemia’s most important monastic library.

The Theological Hall, designed in Baroque style, housed 18,000 volumes and was later complemented by the Philosophical Hall, boasting 42,000 volumes on philosophy and natural sciences. Each hall reflected its era’s architectural and intellectual trends, from the Baroque grandeur of the Theological Hall to the neoclassical elegance of the Philosophical Hall. The libraries’ rich history endured through political upheavals, eventually returning to the Premonstratensians in 1991, now open as a museum for visitors to explore and appreciate.