13 July 2016
ALBERTI, Leon Battista (1404-72). L'Architettura. Translated into Italian by Cosimo Bartoli. Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1550.
2° (336 x 215mm). Woodcut architectural title border, author portrait on 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 quires A and B, woodcut historiated initials. (Lacking tables and errata at end signed N1-O6, dampstaining and soiling, heavier on title, some damage to extensions of buildings on A4v and A5r, F6 and L6 detached, F6 shorter at bottom margin, top right corner of first leaves creased.) 16th-century limp vellum (heavily soiled, lacking ties). Provenance: Antonio Maria Lampo (1680-1746 military engineer; ownership inscription on flyleaf stating the book was bought in March 1710 for '4=6=8' liras and annotations throughout).
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 practising 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 Bartoli's translation superseded Pietro Lauro's of 1546 and became the basis of most of the later editions of the work, including its translation into English.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. Antonio Maria Lampo was a renowned military engineer from Turin; he worked from 1705 on some important fortifications together with Filippo Juvarra (Gritella) and Benedetto Alfieri. Among the famous buildings he assisted with was the recently built Venaria Reale just outside the city. Cf. PMM 28 (1485 ed.). Adams A-488; Mortimer, Harvard Italian 12; Fowler 6; RIBA 52.
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