De gli habiti delle religioni (1626)
Lower Library C.36.5
This unusual Italian book is an album of engravings of the costumes, or habits, worn by the monks of seventy-two different religious orders, from the splendid to the austere and sometimes the disturbing (as with the Grandmontine monk who wears iron mail over his bare skin). The artist, Odoardo Fialetti, explains in a preface that he wished to remind readers of 'the varied banners under which the church militant serves God'.
The figures under the habits are far from mannequins: Fialetti draws individual personalities, whose apparent qualities (say humility, pride, severity, or kindliness) inevitably transfer to their respective orders. This copy has been conscientiously but hastily coloured by hand, undoubtedly in a mass process with information from the artist before the book reached market.