VECELLIO, Cesare Habiti antichi et moderni di tutto il mondo

Venice, Giovanni Bernardo Sessa, 1598


8to, ff. [lvi],507. Italic and roman letter, woodcut engraved t-p, floriated and historiated initials, woodcut plates on numbered leaves’ verso, Italian ms. ex-libris on t-p “ Fran. Ant. J. Moccia” with a date “1709”, p.159 C17 ms. monogram. Very clean and good copy in C17 vellum recased.

Second and most complete edition with 507 woodcut plates, among them 87 new ones. This addition includes a section on American countries with 19 plates on Peru, Cusco, Mexico, Virginia and Florida. This edition comports a Latin translation along with the Italian original 1590 text. This work is considered the apex of Cinquecento costume book achievement. This copiously illustrated costume compendium works from antiquity to modernity and the last discoveries. It presents, in the first part on Europe, the fashions of the different cities of Italy and focus on Venice. Starting with a bare-midriffed and brawny Trojan, the work soon moves on to be-jewelled elegant Venetian ladies in rich brocades, richly-gilded merchant’s wives and surprisingly modestly dressed courtesans, a bearded doge, hooded monks, convicts in chains and tradesmen playing their wares. Intricately detailed, including even buttons, shoelaces and earrings, the drawings are appealingly presented in a selection of decorative frames. Many of the subjects appear to be based on manuscript or printed sources, for example those of Nicolas de Nicolay and Pieter de Coeck on Turkish costumes.

The second part of the text covers Asia and Africa, with a further 59 woodcuts. Consciously exotic in the choice of costume with figures wielding scimitars, bows and spears, including a fully-veiled woman, it travels through i.a. Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Persia, Damascus, Syria, the West Indies, Ethiopia, China, Egypt, and the Canary Isles, concluding with a couple of fearsome Americans natives, resplendent in skimpy loincloths. Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601), painter and engraver, was related to Tiziano Veceli, named Titian, and was probably his assistant. He accompanied Titian to Augsburg in 1598. The Brera’s Museum at Milan has one of his paintings, a Trinity and he is known for his fore-edge painting in the Pilone’s collection. Several important books were illustrated by Cesare Vecellio, one of them, our book, has 420 plates engraved after the drawing of our artist by Christopher Chrieger or Krüger, named also Cristoforo Guerra (German artist from Nuremberg who worked at Venice during the second part of the sixteen century).

A fascinating insight into the fashion of the 16th century.

BM STC It; EDIT 16; Brunet, V, 1104; Sabin, XXVI, 296” Book XII. De gli habiti dell' A1mericana, leaves 488-507. The first edition does not include this section. The woodcuts are from a drawing by Titian, according to a statement in the third edition, 1664. c. This ascription is considered doubtful by Brunet” ; Lipperheide 22 ; Maggs Bros., Bibiotheca Americana, Part V, 1598 “Libro XII contains full-page woodcuts of the costumes of the inhabitants of Peru, Cusco, Mexico, Virginia and Florida, both men and women”; European Americana, 598/112; Vinet, Bibliographie méthodique et raisonnée des Beaux Arts, p. 266.

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