L’ architettura … Sono aggiunti di piu il Quinto, Sesto, Settimo e Ottauo libro.

Venice [Paolo Manuzio], 1567


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio pp. [iv], 196, [viii]. π², A-2A⁴, 2B², 2C⁴. Roman letter, small Italic marginalia. “Architectural title border with figures. Part of the title is set in a tablet in the upper part of the border, with description of the contents in the archway below. One hundred fifty-eight woodcuts, including twelve full page and two double-page. Forty three of these blocks are from the 1554 Aldine edition of the first four books. There are three new subjects in book I and ten in book 3. Book 5 is illustrated with details of columns. Most of the illustration in the later books is in the form of diagrams in all sizes including two double page diagrams in book 8. Foliated head-piece with birds and a female head for the table of contents at the end of the volume. An initial E with the Medici arms for the dedication to Franceso de Medici on leaf [-]2r. Historiated and foliated initials. Aldine dolphin and anchor device on CC4v.” Mortimer. Manuscript ex libris of “Christofrano Roncalli dalle Pomarance” on title page, bookplate “Ex bibliotheca Alberici XII Atestii Barbiani et Belgiojosii Principis” pasted in lower outer corner below. Lower outer blank corner of last torn and expertly restored, a bit of browning in places, a very good, large, almost uncut copy in slightly later vellum over boards, later but not modern e.p.s.

First edition complete with all eight parts of this important and beautifully illustrated work on architecture, from the library of the near contemporary painter and fresco artist Christofrano Roncalli dalle Pomarance. The work is enlarged and completed here with a further four parts from the first edition also published by Manuzio in 1554. It deals with all aspects of architecture, planning and design of a wide variety of different buildings, forts, fortified towns, palaces, castles, country houses and maisons bourgeoises. “there are interesting plans of fortified towns in book I. This work of the Sienese architect and mathematician, Pietro Cataneo, together with that of Antonio Labacco, were the most important of their kind to appear in Italy between Serlio’s book V, 1547 and Vignola’s Regola dell Cinque Ordini, 1562” Fowler.

“[Cataneo’s] true speciality was the fortification of citadels and towns in the city of Sienna .. [and] he was involved in secular and ecclesiastical building projects in Sienna. His name is associated with the Palazzo Francesconi, which Peruzzi had possibly begun, and his name is also mentioned in connection with the church of San Giuseppe. .. The views of fortified towns that Cataneo presents in the woodcuts in book I are all ideal solutions, consisting of geometrical basic forms with clearly understandable grids of streets. … They anticipate late C16th and C17th developments in town planning, for example the new Palma Nova development in Venice. So while Cataneo took up a topic with which the Renaissance was quite familiar, it also becomes apparent what importance he attached to town planning, it being “architectures most beautiful aspect”. ‘Architectural Theory: From the Renaissance to the Present : 89 Essays’.

His work on the design of cities was influential, having been cited by Andrea Palladio and elaborated on by Scamozzi and Vasari. His plan for an ‘ideal city’ is said to have influenced Richard Newcourt’s proposal for the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire, as well as the design of cities such as Philadelphia. The work is simple, direct, practical, well indexed and well illustrated; its success and influence is unsurprising. It also enjoys the distinction of being one of the very few technical or scientific books to have been published by the Aldine press, and, with the first edition, the only architectural work.

Cristoforo Roncalli (c. 1552–1626) was an Italian mannerist painter, a contemporary of Caravaggio and Carracci. His training occurred in Tuscany, and around 1578, he relocated to Rome, Italy where he worked for Niccolò Circignani. Most of his fresco work was in Rome, though he worked for a decade in Loreto (1605–1615), where he decorated the New Sacristy. In Rome he decorated the cupola of the church of Santa Maria di Loreto and of San Silvestro in Capite. He helped decorate Santa Maria in Vallicella for the Oratory of San Filippo Neri. He also painted for the Oratory of Santissimo Crocifisso, the Baptism of Constantine and St. Simon in the transept of San Giovanni in Laterano, and designed the mosaics in the Cappella Clementina in the St. Peter’s Basilica. Caravaggio admired him and “in 1603 Caravaggio named him in his testimony as one of the most important painters in the city. He assigned him with just four others … The main interest in Roncalli today by scholars concerns his role as an advisor to collectors, notably to a patron of Caravaggio, Vincenzo Giustiniani”  C. Gilbert. ’Caravaggio and His Two Cardinals.’

A very good copy of this work with excellent and most appropriate provenance

BM STC It. p. 158. Adams C1025. Renouard 203:6. Mortimer Harvard C16 It. 114. Fowler 83. Brunet I 1654 “encore recherchée pour la collection aldine”. Berlin Ornamentischkatalog 2577. Riccardi I 319 “Raro e pregiato”. Cicognara 469.


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