SUPREMELY ILLUSTRATED ROMAN ANTIQUITIES
Ornamenti di fabriche antichi et moderni dell’alma citta di Roma.
[Roma], Andrea Della Vaccheria, . [with]
Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae…icones.
Roma, Lorenzo Della Vaccheria, 1584.
4to. 2 works in 1, ff. 96 unnumbered and unsigned ll., I) FIRST EDITION, 24; II) 72, separate t-p to each. Little Italic letter, with Roman. Engraved architectural t-ps with allegorical figures, putti and grotesques; 94 engraved plates (some hand-coloured) of Roman monuments and buildings within urban views, and statues of ancient heroes, deities and historical figures. Faint waterstaining to upper margins of first few ll., a little thumbing, minor spotting usually to blank verso of plates, early repair to verso of one plate touching image with no loss, first gathering a bit loose and lightly browned, minor loss to lower outer blank corner of one fol. Very good copies, on thick high-quality paper, in contemporary limp vellum, covers soiled, minor tears to edges, traces of label, spine repaired with carta rustica at head, printed red and black lining and beneath pastedown. C19 library stamp and early numeral inked to fep, modern printed portrait of Clement XI pasted to verso of fly, also early overwritten Italian purchase note. In folding box.
Very good copies of these superb illustrated works, in fine impression on high-quality paper, celebrating the antiquities of Rome. Commissioned by the printer Andrea della Vaccaria, this first edition of ‘Ornamenti di fabriche’ is a collection of 24 plates—some hand-coloured in this copy—engraved by the artist Giovanni Maggi (1566-1618), with narrative captions composed by the scholar Bartolomeo Rossi. The illustrations guide the readers through the meanders of Rome towards the discovery of ancient and modern monuments including obelisks with hieroglyphs, the sculpted horses on the Quirinal, Trajan’s column, and the more recent catafalques for the funerals of Sixtus V and Alessandro Farnese. Each monument provides the occasion for a snapshot of brief and juicy antiquarian narratives, basking in epigraphic material, ‘vedute’, classicism and the charm of ruins. Despite its title, ‘Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae’ is not strictly a third edition of its namesake original, but a collection of plates from the previous ones (1561, 1562) commissioned by the publisher Lorenzo della Vaccheria, Andrea’s father. Produced by Cherubino Alberti and Orazio Santis under the supervision of the engraver Giovanni Battista Cavalieri (c.1525-1601), it provides a magnificent gallery of the most renowned Roman statues such as the Laocoon and Marcus Aurelius on horseback as well as more general sculptures like satyrs, deities, river gods, shepherds, emperors and heroes. Both works are outstanding examples of the genre of Roman print collections so dear to Renaissance humanists and artists. They epitomize the art of ‘vedutismo’ and perspective, the new science of epigraphy (including hieroglyphs), the achievements of Renaissance classicism, historiography and antiquarianism, and the seed of the ‘picturesque’ movement of the C18. Whilst they gave the opportunity for ‘arm-chair travelling’ to learned readers who did not wish to leave their homes, these collections also inspired the sketches and works of painters, engravers and architects and the study of humanists, who had visited seen them in Rome and purchased a memento for reference. A couple of copies are recorded in which I and II are bound together; they may have been sold in that fashion by Andrea della Vaccheria who probably had plates from Cavalieri’s work left over from his father’s time—hence the inconsistent composition of recorded copies.
I) Huntington, UPenn, Columbia and Illinois copies recorded in the US.
BM STC It., p. 588. Not in Brunet, Mortimer Harvard C16 or Fowler.
II) Huntington, Yale and UPenn copies recorded in the US.
Not in BM STC It., Brunet or Mortimer Harvard C16.