Special Collections
Rare Books and Prints


Current Exhibition

shakespeare exhibition

“Some are born great...”: Celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

The University of Melbourne Library is holding an exhibition of early modern drama and contextual documents to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Most items come from the University of Melbourne Special Collections, including the 1632 Shakespeare 2nd folio, but we are also fortunate to be able to show a 1607 edition of Ben Jonson’s Volpone or The foxe from the State Library of Victoria. Dr David McInnis, lecturer in English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne has curated this wonderful celebration of the bard. Read more
Ground floor Baillieu Library
August 1st – September 26th 2014


Radicals, slayers and villains
A travelling exhibition

Achilles Dragging Hector's Corpse Around the Walls of Troy

Pietro Testa, Achilles Dragging Hector's Corpse Around the Walls of Troy, (1645-50),
plate: 26.3 x 41.6, sheet: 27.5 x 42.0 cm, etching, reg. no. 1986.2001,
purchased 1986, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne.

The exhibition Radicals, slayers and villains will be a major attraction at the University’s biennial Cultural Treasures Festival in July 2014. The exhibition will then travel to venues in regional Victoria.

Radicals, slayers and villains shows controversial figures from history that have challenged the status-quo and helped shape our world. The striking imagery of these works is captured by seminal artists including Dürer, Goya and Rembrandt. The artists in the exhibition have been instrumental in the development of Western art and the universal theme of the individual and his or her role in society is illustrated through these extraordinarily powerful works. The exhibition has wide appeal through its representation of themes, such as the place and role of the individual in society, the depiction of the human figure, the impact of violence, and death. The often violent imagery depicted in the ‘slayers’ component of the exhibition presented great appeal to artists working from the Renaissance onwards, and inherent in these images is their capacity to shock and inspire awe in contemporary audiences with their lethal armoury of brutal and savage capabilities. The depiction of the human figure is equally arresting in the group of works categorised as ‘villains’, which shows supernatural skeletons bringing death, hybrid fiends, demons, criminals and evil animals all conspiring to throw our existence into turmoil.

More information.





Past Exhibitions

Online Exhibitions

Tea: The Global Infusion

Romance or Pulp Fiction? It's Your Choice

The Facsimile and the Manuscript

Art Bound: A Selection of Artists' Books

Sensational Tales: Australian Popular Publishing 1850s-1990s

To all the Little Masters and to all the Little Misses: The Morgan Collection of Children's Books

Aubrey Beardsley - A Tribute

FabricAsian - Celebrating an aspect of material culture for which Asian societies have long been renowned

Libri: six centuries of Italian books from the Baillieu Library’s Special Collections


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