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Official opening of the Machinae novae exhibition – 400 Years Later, dedicated to the important works of Faust Vrančić

Machinae Novae - 400 Years Later is the title given to the exhibition which will be officially opened on 10 November 2015 at 12 am in the National and University Library in Zagreb to mark the 400th anniversary of the publishing of Faust Vrančić’s Machinae novae, Faust being a prominent Croatian inventor and constructor at the turn from the 16th leading to the 17th century. Machinae novae is one of the most important works in the field of engineering in the early 17th century. On 49 intaglio prints, Vrančić brought 56 inventions and technical constructions, and included among them several projects from others, which he considered would fit into his work or would provide him with inspiration for other more perfect inventions.

The original copy of this book, besides in Vrančić's hometown of Šibenik, is kept in the Collection of Manuscripts and Old Books at the National and University Library in Zagreb, and it was this that was the reason for the Library to hold on its premises this exhibition and remind accordingly of an important Croatian work, and also that of the Renaissance. The partners in preparing this exhibition were the National and University Library in Zagreb, the Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, the Juraj Šižgorić Šibenik City Library and the Foundation of the National and University Library in Zagreb. The expert collaborator for the exhibition was Marijana Borić, PhD, a research associate at the Department of History of Natural and Mathematical Sciences before the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

The original work Machinae novae will be exhibited only during the opening ceremony of the exhibition, where as its authentic reprint, as well as the digitised version, can be seen in the central area of the exhibition. The reprint is also part of the Collection of Manuscripts and Old Books at the National and University Library, whereas the digitized version is an integral part of the Digitized Heritage website, which comprises the selection of the most valuable works from the holdings of the National and University Library in Zagreb transferred into digital form. The central area accommodates items from the exhibition at the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum dedicated to the work Machinae novae, which during May of 2015 was set up as part of the Festival of Science, held at the Museum.

Leading to the central part of the exhibition through the floor graphics is a chronological route with periods in the life and work of Faust Vrančić and connecting the old and valuable materials from the holdings of the National and University Library in Zagreb.

The National and University Library in Zagreb in cooperation with partners designed a series of accompanying events with the desire of being able to, in the most picturesque manner, and using all the advantages of modern technology and multimedia, present, in particular, Vrančić’s sketches from the work Machinae novae, and subsequently his path through life that projects the spirit of the Renaissance.

Besides the physical exhibition, also in preparation is a virtual exhibition that will accompany Vrančić's life and professional era, while focusing on his work Machinae novae.

The importance of this anniversary has been recognised by UNESCO, included among the world's major anniversaries in 2014 and 2015, where the exhibition received patronage from the Croatian Commission for UNESCO.

The exhibition is part of the 2015 Croatian Book Month, and was set up with assistance from the Croatian Ministry of Culture. Special thanks was given by the National and University Library in Zagreb to the Croatian History Museum and the City of Šibenik Museum for ceding the equipment and materials.

The exhibition Machinae novae - 400 Years Later can be seen until 30 November 2015.