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You are here: Home About us Cultural events Exhibitions Exhibit of the Month - December 2022

Exhibit of the Month - December 2022

November 9 - December 13, 2022 Ante-room to the General reading Room (gate A), open Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm (see opening hours of the NL)
Admission 20 CZK (free for the NL readers)


NL Prague 17 B 8

EX LIBRIS: Bibliothecae Musei Mathematici Societatis Jesu Pragae ad S. Clementem inscriptus Anno 1730.

The author of a ten-volume book is Jakob Leupold (1674–1727), a German mathematician and – nowadays we would say – a mechanical engineer and inventor. Theatrum Machinarium brought a systematic overview of machines of its time. The work was published gradually between 1724 and 1739 in Leipzig and its text was supplemented with many technical drawings. The exhibited title page comes from the 2nd volume, which provides an exhaustive list of machines used to move heavy objects and to build large-scale constructions.

The book is also interesting for us thanks to an ex libris, inscribed on the title page, according to which the book was listed in the catalogue of the Library of the Mathematical Museum of the Jesuit College of St. Clement in 1730. The Mathematical Museum was built gradually in the second half of the 17th century and included books, tools, instruments and other exhibits connected with mathematics, physics, astronomy, geology and related fields. At the same time, the Museum was also a certain cabinet of curiosities, since it spontaneously preserved objects brought or sent by Jesuit missionaries from faraway countries. Other unique exhibits were created here by the Klementinum Jesuits themselves, for example the globes made by Caspar Pflieger or the astronomical clocks by Johann Klein.

The Mathematical Museum was housed at the Klementinum building in several halls right above this exhibition hall. In 1722, three hundred years ago, the Mathematical Museum was opened to the public. It was the first museum in Bohemia and one of the first museums in Central Europe (the National Museum was founded as late as 1818).

The books of the Mathematical Library have more variations of handwritten exlibris. Very often it is just Bibliothecae Mathematicae or Musei Mathematici. Under some museum curators the bookplates were not inscribed at all. However, the fact that the books belong to the Mathematical Library is evident from typical red lines on the spines.

The Mathematical Museum was well attended. Even many eminent personalities of the time can be found among its visitors. It was located at the Klementinum until 1785. At present, one part of its exhibits is kept in the National Technical Museum (astronomical instruments and clocks), while the other is in the National Museum (ethnographic collections). However, a considerable part of the exhibits has not been preserved. All that remained from the Mathematical Museum here at the Klementinum are ceiling frescoes in the so-called mathematical halls, and globes and clocks exhibited in the Baroque Library Hall.