ALBERTI, Leon Battista (1404-72). L'Architettura, translated into Italian by Cosimo Bartoli (1503-72). Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1550.
FROM AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION
ALBERTI, Leon Battista (1404-72). L'Architettura, translated into Italian by Cosimo Bartoli (1503-72). Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1550.

Details
ALBERTI, Leon Battista (1404-72). L'Architettura, translated into Italian by Cosimo Bartoli (1503-72). Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1550.

2° (351 x 228mm). Woodcut architectural title-border, author portrait on title verso, 83 woodcuts of architectural plans, diagrams, elevations, details and surveying figures; extensions to buildings on A4v and A5r printed as plates and bound between A4-5, woodcut historiated initials. (Occasional faint spotting, light dampstain in L.) 17th-century flexible vellum, title lettered along spine with 'n.19' (short tear at head of spine); modern slipcase. Provenance: Joannes Jacobus de Niger (de Nero) of Padua (16th-century title inscription; a few marginal annotations).

FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF THE DE RE AEDIFICATORIA AND FIRST EDITION OF BARTOLI'S TRANSLATION INTO ITALIAN. 'The most influential version of Alberti' (RIBA). Alberti's treatise on architecture was the first Renaissance work on the subject and the first architectural work to be printed (1485). Its scope is comprehensive, ranging from the practical (including tips for lifting sculpture) to the theoretical, explicating and augmenting the classical order. His is 'a complete Humanist doctrine' (Fowler) with its extensive discussion of the concept of beauty and application of humanist scholarship. Raphael, Serlio and Palladio were influenced by the work. As a practicing architect too Alberti exercised lasting influence; for instance, his design for the Palazzo Rucellai established the norm for palazzo facades for centuries. Bartoli's translation superceded Pietro Lauro's of 1546 and became the basis of most later editions of the work, including its translation into English. The woodcuts influenced subsequent editions by being either re-used or copied. The handsome title-border appears here for the first time. 'One of the most attractive of the period' (Fowler), it is based on a drawing attributed to Vasari. Cf. PMM 28 (1485 ed.). Adams A-488; Mortimer, Harvard Italian 12; Fowler 6; RIBA 52.

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