MUZIO, Girolamo


MUZIO, Girolamo Le mentite ochiniane

Venezia, Gabriele Giolito De Ferrari e fratelli, 1551


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, ff. 186 (misnumbered 185) (ii). Elegant italic letter, printer’s device to t-p and verso of penultimate leaf, three woodcut initials, one depicting a game of ‘pallacorda’ (precursor of tennis; this is one of the earliest representations of this sport). Blank margins of t-p a little marked, light age yellowing, small spot to lower blank margin of first gathering, very light waterstain to a few fore-edges, wormholes to blank margins of a couple of initial and final ll. (just affecting one letter on Aii verso). A handsome copy in exquisite contemporary Venetian morocco, covers double blind ruled, tooled in gold to a panel design, outer border filled with interlinked-circle tools, fleurons at corners, inner panel tooled in gilt forming a design of interlacing lines with small star and leaf tools, gilt fleurons and six-pointed star centrepiece inside a circular frame with stars and small triangular tools. Spine with raised bands, blind stamped decoration of curving leaf branches, different in upper and lower compartment, former possibly restored, all edges richly gilt and gauffered. Partly erased C17 ms. ex libris and early “h. j. 3j” to t-p, “Left to me by Captain C. Lindsay 1925 Rutland CLL. Cat: n° 39”, circular stamps “Charles Ludovic Lindsay” and “Belvoir Castle Library 1926”, and ms. acquisition note in pencil “Bought Sotheby £ 2.2.0 C.L.L.” all to fly, label of Max Cointreau (1922-2016) to front paste-down.

First edition of this polemic by Muzio against the protestant reformer Ochino, handsomely bound in Venetian gilt morocco in very good condition. Venice was the first city in Europe to produce gold-tooled bindings, introducing new styles and methods from the Islamic world of the Near East. Fine borders of interlinked-circles and star-shaped centrepieces as these are typically found on Venetian bindings in the first half of the 16th century (see De Marinis II, 2243-2244), and a similar designs of interlacing lines forming borders containing identical tiny flower, star and leaves tools appear on two examples illustrated by De Marinis (II, 2220-21).

Girolamo Muzio (1496-1576) was an Italian polygraph and courtier born in Padua. His family was originally from Koper, or Iustinopolis (Slovenia), from which he took the name ‘Iustinopolitanus’ appearing on the title page. He was at the service of several dukes and marquises, including Guidobaldo II della Rovere at Urbino, where he was preceptor to the celebrated poet Torquato Tasso. Muzio wrote collections of poems, treatises on grammar and duelling, and several tracts against the Italian Reformers. “Le mentite ochiniane” (Ochinus’ lies), is a polemic against the theologian Bernardino Ochino, a friend of Valdes and Calvin who converted from Catholicism to Protestantism and became minister of the Italian Protestant congregation at Augsburg. ‘Le mentite’ is a compilation of 50 ‘lies’, or errors, which Muzio found in Ochino’s ‘Prediche’, treatises about his conversion. In this work, Muzio reproduces quotes from Ochino’s writings (e.g. extracts in which Ochino denies the doctrine of Purgatory and confession, or rejects the authority of the Church) and argues that in every instance he misinterpreted passages from the Bible.

This copy was in the library of Captain Charles Ludovic Lindsay (1862 –1925), cousin of the great bibliophile Sir James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford, and collector of antiquities and books. After his death, it was bequeathed to the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle. The note on fly might be by Charles’ sister, Violet Manners (1856-1937), duchess of Rutland, painter and sculptor.

USTC 843988; EDIT 16 CNCE 47052; BM STC It. C16, p. 459; Graesse IV, p. 638; Brunet III, p. 1967. Not in Adams.
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