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Angelo Maria Querini

Tue, 21/11/2017 - 12:30 -- Laura
Bust of Cardinale Angelo Maria Querini, Brescia

Angelo Maria Querini was born in Venice on the 20th March 1680.
He was a bishop, a scholar, a librarian and the heir of one of the most influential families of Venetian aristocracy.
Since his childhood he was connected with Brescia where he was welcomed at the prestigious Collegio dei Gesuiti di Sant’Antonio (Jesuit College of Saint Antony); he then joined the Benedictine order in Florence.
His family considerable wealth allowed him to travel for a long time through Europe, where he met the most renowned people of his time, among which Frederick II of Prussia and Voltaire.
He had a prestigious career in Catholic Church: in 1721 he was elected general abbot of the Benedictine order and seven years later he became Bishop of Brescia. As a Bishop he soon started his pastoral mission operating with utmost moral commitment oriented to helping people in need: he inspired many of the charities which were set up in those years.
Beside the pastoral activity he constantly devoted his life to culture and during his bishopric Brescia became an important cultural centre.
His bright – yet sometimes controversial – erudition, together with his open-mindedness, helped him to be appointed as Cardinal librarian of the Vatican Apostolic Library.
In Brescia he was the founder of the city library, nowadays named after him, with the precise and far-sighted will of making it a public library. The library was built next to the Bishop Palace between 1746 and 1749 and was designed by the architect Giovan Battista Marchetti.
Querini gave to the public library most of his private book collection, donating it to the City Council after his death.
The news of the opening of the library was heard in the whole Europe attracting scholars and intellectuals for the whole 18th Century. The library offered not only the 15.000 books given by its founder, but also works of applied art, paintings and medals.
The Bishop carried out many philanthropic and artistic acts: among the many, thanks to his influence, the building work of the New Cathedral started in1604 and interrupted for many years were resumed.
For this reason, a memorial statue of Bishop Querini sculpted by Antonio Callegari is displayed above the main gate of the New Cathedral. Bishop Querini died on the 6th of January 1755 and was buried in the presbytery of the cathedral, as the Catholic tradition demands in case of Church men who demanded ecclesiastic buildings.

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Piazza Paolo VI
main gate of Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral)
Author Antonio Callegari
1755 (?)
Botticino stone