17 June 2008
FONTANA, Carlo (1634-1714). Templum Vaticanum et ipsius origo. Rome: Giovanni Francesco Buagni, 1694.
2o (430 x 320 mm). Parallel title and text in Latin and Italian, 79 engraved plates and plans (11 folding, one double-page) by Alessandro Specchi after Fontana. (Some light browning.) 19th-century half vellum and paper covered boards (some light wear to spine ends, light splitting to joints). Provenance: Domus Massiliensis (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. The work is divided into seven books: book I deals with the antique site of St. Peter's; book II the basilica constructed by Emperor Constantine in about 320; book III the transportation in 1585 of the obelisk to its present site in the square in front of St. Peter's; book IV the square and Bernini's oval colonnade; book V a detailed survey of the fabric of St. Peter's; book VI the relative cost of St. Peter's in comparison with the Temple of Solomon; book VII a comparison of St. Peter's, the Pantheon and the Duomo in Florence. "The Templum Vaticanum caused a sensation in the contemporary art world; it was ardently discussed, for instance, in the correspondence of the director of the French Academy in Rome for the next two years. The publication was an ambitious visual, intellectual, and typographic enterprise" (Millard). Berlin Kat. 2678; Fowler 122; Millard Italian Books 38.
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