CONTILE, Luca Le rime di Messer Luca Contile divise in tre parti con discorsi, et argomenti di M. Francesco Patritio, et M. Antonio Borghesi..... Con le sei canzoni dette Le sei sorelle di Marte ...

Venice, Appresso F. Sansovino, et compagni, 1560


FIRST EDITION 8vo. ff. [iv], 108. Italic letter, some Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on title, historiated woodcut initials, grotesque headpieces, typographical ornaments. Title and verso of last leaf fractionally dusty, small wormtrail to ten leaves just touching a few letters. A good, clean copy in seventeenth century mottled calf, spine with raised bands, gilt in compartments, gilt fleurons at centres, joints and spine somewhat worn. a.e.r.

First edition of these love poems in three parts, in the style of Petrarch, by the renowned playwright, poet, historian, diplomat and polygraph, Luca Contile, with commentary to the first part by Franciscus Patricius and to the second and third by Antonio Borghesi, followed by the second printing of his poem ‘Le sei sorelle di Marte’. Contile was from an Pavian aristocratic family and studied at Siena and Bologna. He was in the service of Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio in Rome from 1527 to 1542, and took an active part in the Roman ‘Accademia della Virtù’ founded by Tolomei with Annibale Caro, Marc Antonio Flaminio and Francesco Molza. He later served Ferrante Gonzaga, governor of Milan, on whose behalf he undertook diplomatic missions in Naples and Poland. From 1552 to 1558 he was employed by the archbishop of Trento, Christoforo Madruzzo, then moved to Venice, where he entered the service of the General Sforza Pallavicini. He was received into the ‘Accademia Veneziana’ and wrote these neo-platonic love poems during his stay in Venice. Francesco Patrizi (or Frane Petri?) was a Croatian philosopher and scientist and fellow member of the Venetian ‘Accademia’ renowned as a defender of Platonism and an opponent of Aristotelism. His commentary is highly important; he outlines the foundations of his concepts of beauty and love with reflections on Platonic and Neo-Platonic doctrines, the myth of Eros, Ficino’s understanding of love and beauty, and earthly and celestial love, and he defines the phenomenon of love according to its types. Petri? also analyses love as a natural, biological phenomenon, and examines its physiology and psychology.

A good copy of this rare work, elegantly printed by Sansovino who typifies the figures who moved in the editorial circles of the period in Venice. He was an author of poetry and prose writings on literature, history and rhetoric, as well as a translator and editor; Sansovino not only compiled, translated, and annotated texts for Venetian printers, but opened his own printing house, publishing around thirty editions of good quality, between 1560-62 and in 1568.

BM STC It. C16 p. 196. Gamba 1333. Fontanini I p. 498. Not in Cicogna or Gay.
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