ZAGREB, 28 Sept (Hina) – The exhibition “Encyclopedia, the heritage of knowledge” by French professor Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, featuring 33 original volumes of a famous 18th century encyclopedia authored by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, opened at the National and University Library (NSK) in Zagreb on Tuesday.
The event, organised by the NSK and the French Institute in Croatia on the occasion of European Heritage Days, presents the restored volumes, and plates with engravings of outstanding technical achievements.
Bilingual signs make it possible to follow the encyclopedia project from concept to completion and put it in relation with the time context as well as shed light on current issues concerning information, disinformation, as well as the further life of the initial project in the era of the Internet and Open Science.
NSK director Ivanka Stričević said the idea to stage the exhibition came up more than a year ago, when the French Institute finally collected, after 20 years, 33 volumes of the original edition of the encyclopedia and entrusted them to the NSK for safekeeping.
In addition to the 33 original volumes of the encyclopedia, entitled Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, also on display are digital copies of related maps, which are part of the valuable stock of the NSK Collection of Maps and Atlases.
The head of the French Institute in Croatia, Estelle Halimi Dagron, said the exhibition takes visitors on an amazing journey of the Encyclopedia in France, Croatia and Europe.
At the same time it encourages you to think about the everlasting importance of the Enlightenment and the struggle for critical thinking in today’s world, in which instant, excessive and manipulated information has become common, she said.
French Ambassador Fabien Fieschi said that the philosophy of the Enlightenment is relevant and applicable in the field of sustainable development today.
Since we have information about it, because science is clear and solutions available, one should act responsibly and firmly. That was one of Diderot and d’Alembert’s hopes when they embarked on their almost life-long journey, that humanity would use the power of knowledge to build a better future for its own good, Fieschi said.
The exhibition, to last until 15 October, puts special emphasis on descriptions of Croatia in the encyclopedia and in 18th century Europe.