BARBERINI DEDICATORY BINDING
Ristretto delle grandezze di Roma.Rome, Vital Mascardi, 1637.
FIRST EDITION. 12mo. pp. , 288. Roman letter, little Italic. Engraved title with personification of Rome and another female allegorical figure, shield of the Barberini, 24 ½-page woodcut emblems, decorated initials and ornaments. Intermittent light browning, an exceptional copy in contemporary crimson morocco, lacking ties, double gilt ruled with dentelles and pointillé, outer border and two gouges in central panel painted black, with gilt stars, gilt arabesque part pontillé cornerpieces with gilt Barberini bees, large Barberini arms painted black with 3 gilt bees, surmounted by gilt crown, within arabesque part pointillé border, flat spine, double gilt ruled, border and bands painted black with gilt dots, gilt fleurons to compartments, gilt-lettered crimson morocco labels, marbled pastedowns, a.e.g., upper corners slightly bumped, very minor worming to shield on lower cover. Slightly later ‘58 A 58’ to fly, early shelfmark ‘IV.F.rg’ at foot of title.
Handsomely bound most certainly for the dedicatees, the brothers Carlo (1630-1704) and Maffeo (1631-85) Barberini, grand-nephews of Pope Urban VIII (d.1644). Considering their age – 7 and 6 years respectively – this was probably intended as a reference book for their studies. The geometric structure, small format and tooling, and especially the gilt bees, suggest the binding was produced in the workshop of Gregorio (d.1696) and Giovanni (d.1699) Andreoli, formerly known as ‘the Rospigliosi bindery’, who bound numerous books for the Barberini (e.g., ‘Legatura romana barocca’, nos 36, 39, 41).
Edited by Totti’s son, Ludovico, ‘Ristretto’ was a pocket-size abridgment of Pompilio’s popular ‘Ritratti’ of ancient Rome, first published in 1627, and of modern Rome, planned for publication in 1638. The work was meant to ‘satisfy the curious devotion of foreign travellers, who, coming to this city to acquire Indulgences hereby sold, wish to return to their country knowledgeable in the famous greatness of this Miracle of the World’. The main sources were Marliani’s ‘Antiquae Romae topographia’ and Totti’s personal knowledge. Part I of ‘Ristretto’ is devoted to all the churches and sacred places, subdivided by areas (‘rioni’), with brief mentions of local curiosities, as well as the Seven Churches, how to visit them and pray. For each church, ancient, medieval or contemporary, including those of monasteries, the reader finds a brief historical account and a description of salient altars or relics of saints (even the English king and martyr St Edmund). Part II is a guide focusing on the main ancient and modern buildings, their architecture and the art collections thereby preserved, e.g., Palazzo Farnese, Palazzo Borghese, Campidoglio, Porta Pia, Piazza Navona, the Trajan Column, etc. Part III is an alphabetic catalogue of hundreds of saints’ relics (whole bodies or parts) in Roman churches, from Ladislaus, King of Hungary, to obscure early martyrs, and even miraculous images of the Virgin. Part IV is a catalogue of feasts and plenary or perpetual indulgences occurring daily in Roman churches, and Part V an appendix on the greatness of the Roman Empire, based on Lipsius and gathered by Ottavio Tronsarelli, with short sections on important buildings as well as Roman customs and important battles. The most attractive copy.Only Columbia and Harvard copies recorded in the US. USTC 4008749; Schudt n.183; BAL, p.2121 (mentioned). Not in Fowler or Berlin Cat.