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The studiolo was an interior space (referred to interchangeably also as camerino or stanzino) frequent in aristocratic Italian homes during the quattro- and cinquecentos. Normally lavishly decorated with paintings and other artworks, the studiolo also commonly contained a library, and thus combined the humanists activities of reading and of collecting. As Stephen Campbell explains, "[in the studiolo] reading and collecting could both be rationalized according to the same virtuous end which was the detachment of the mind from worldly cares and perturbations" (Campbell 302). Through their association with detachment and inner reflection, both reading and the contemplation and collecting of art became linked to the humanist concept of the private individual, and the studiolo, as the site of these activities, served as a spatial demonstration of the individual's private pursuits. Yet the studiolo, of course, presents a paradox, as its spatialized ethos of privateness was, like most aristocratic things during the cinquecento, meant for public display. Here's Campbell, again: "the normally private and interior experience of reading was given a visible, intersubjective, and social form" (303). 

 

Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, ca. 1478–82 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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