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Julius II (b. 1443-d. 1513) was known as the “Warrior Pope,” who told Michelangelo to depict him with sword rather than book in hand. Yet Julius also built his own library, specially housed in the Vatican Palace room, now known as the Stanza della Segnatura, that he had painted by Raphael. The main frescoes depict gatherings of great polymaths from Greek antiquity to the Julius’ time, from Homer and Plato to Gregory the Great and Raphael himself. The frescoes' themes—Philosophy, Poetry, Theology, and Jurisprudence—pictorially synthesize relationships between these four major disciplines from the period. Julius owned books in all these disciplines, and some of his manuscripts survive today.
Students in this Collaboratory reconstructed a digital version of the “Julian Library.” In doing so, they analyzed Renaissance books in USC Libraries' Special Collections; researched the paintings, the collected manuscripts and their authors; and considered Renaissance linear perspective in connection to today’s digital constructs.