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    Sale 2170

    Important Botanical Books

    24 June 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 145

    MATTIOLI, Pietro Andrea. I Discorsi... nelli sei libri di Pedacio Dioscoridi Anazarbeo della materia medicinale. Hora di nuovo dal suo istesso autore ricorretti, & in più di mille luoghi aumentati. Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1568.

    Price Realised  

    MATTIOLI, Pietro Andrea. I Discorsi... nelli sei libri di Pedacio Dioscoridi Anazarbeo della materia medicinale. Hora di nuovo dal suo istesso autore ricorretti, & in più di mille luoghi aumentati. Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1568.

    2 volumes, 2o (402 x 260 mm). Woodcut portrait of the author at m8v and over 950 large woodcut illustrations by Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck in text ALL COLORED IN A CONTEMPORARY HAND printer's device on title and two at end. (Approximately 40 leaves, mostly between K5 and R3, damaged by high acidity in the coloring causing it to break through the paper). Late 19th-century half calf and marbled boards, spine in six compartments, each with gilt lettered red and green morocco label (light rubbing to edges). Provenance: V.M. (gilt initials at foot of spine).

    Second of the Valgrisi Venice editions of the "grand Mattioli" with the full series of the magnificent large woodcuts and the first Italian vernacular edition so illustrated. The first edition was published in Italian in 1544 and the first Latin edition in 1554. The first Valgrisi edition of 1565 is the first containing Mattioli's fuller notes. That edition, and the present, are most valued for their completeness. The botanical cuts by Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck first appeared in the 1562 Herbar (in Czech) and the 1563 New Kreuterbuch printed in Prague, but this edition includes the equally fine cuts from the 1565 edition of the enlarged work which include zoological subjects and the genre scenes (see Hunt 94). "Matthioli's expansive commentary on Dioscorides' classic text ... reflects the growing accumulation of botanical knowledge, which is curiously mirrored also in its illustrations. They are generally presented in wood-cuts of considerable size and unprecidented complexity... The designs, probably made by G. Liberale of Udine, were translated by Meyerpeck's accomplished block cutting into morphologically detailed and carefully shaded images" (Bridson & Wendel. Printmaking In The Service Of Botany, Hunt Institute, 1986, p.24).

    FINELY COLORED IN A CONTEMPORARY HAND. Colored copies of any "grand Mattioli" with the large woodcuts are extremely rare. Only a few copies are recorded. The Wellcome catalogue lists a copy of the 1568 "I discorsi" with hand colored woodcuts with "all before p. 266 damaged, all after p.1526 wanting." The beauty of the colored woodcuts is described by Robert Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy. He suggets to look at a colored Mattioli as a "Cure of Melancholy." (See Sandra Raphael The Mattioli Woodblocks.) Adams D-678; Blunt & Raphael The Illustrated Herbal, 1979. pp.132-133; See Bridson & Wensel 5; see Hunt 94 (first enlarged edition of 1565); Nissen BBI 1304; Pritzel 5987. (2)


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