ARS MORIENDI, in Italian: Arte del ben morire. [Florence: for Bartolommeo di Libri or successor, c. 1510-1513].
Chancery 4° (200 x 135mm). 22 leaves. 32 lines. Type: 102R, 87/88R. 12 large woodcuts and 22 smaller cuts (2 small cuts repeated once each, others close copies), woodcut white-vine initial opening text, lombard initials. (Occasional stains or light soiling.) 20th-century hard-grained red morocco, gilt and blind borders on side, gilt spine, gilt edges; modern blue morocco-backed folding case. Provenance: Otto Schaefer (monogram stamp at end, acquired from H.P. Kraus in 1968; Arnim catalogue 356; sale Sotheby's NY, 8 December 1994, lot 19).
THE MOST RICHLY ILLUSTRATED ITALIAN EDITION OF THE ARS MORIENDI ; even its 1513 reprint was less fully illustrated, since it omitted one woodcut. Ten of the large woodcuts appear here for the first time and derive from the blockbook Ars moriendi series; 2 cuts had illustrated Florentine editions of a Savonarola sermon dated to c.1496 and c.1500 (Goff S-251 and S-252). The majority of the smaller cuts are apparently also new to this edition, although 3 certainly had appeared elsewhere first.
Despite earlier classification by Hain and others as an incunable, this edition is 16th-century. Its large type is one of several variants of Morgiani's type 7, not all of whose 16th-century owners are documented. Combined as it is with the smaller type, Gian Stephano di Carlo and Piero Pacini are possible candidates for printer, but Dennis Rhodes (GbJb 1983, pp.177-78) attributed the edition to Bartolomeo de Libri, c.1510-13, and others have accepted this. See Mortimer, Harvard Italian, 31 for a discussion of the 1513 reprint and its woodcuts.
RARE; ISTC records only 5 copies (2 in the USA, and one each in Italy, France, and northern Ireland). H 4395; Pellechet 1360; CIBN vol. 1, p.145; IGI VI, p.63; Kristeller, Early Flor. woodcuts, 40a; Pollard/Perrins 96; Sander 635; GW col. 736 (Bartolommeo de Libri?, 16th-century); Goff A-113.