5 April 2016
MATTIOLI, Pietro Andrea (1500-1577). Commentarii in sex libros Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei...de Medica materia. Venice: Ex Officina Valgrisiana, 1565.
2° (338 x 227 mm). Woodcut printer's device on title and at end, full-page woodcut portrait within elaborate border on M6v, and over 900 large woodcuts of plants, herbs, animals, insects, and distillation processes, most hand-colored, most of them by Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck, the majority filling three-quarters of the page. (A few leaves with short tears crossing letters, mostly marginal dampstain on a few leaves.) Modern calf, spine gilt-lettered (upper hinge broken, some wear). Provenance: Notes on flyleaf in a 17th-century hand providing a biography of Mattioli and the illustrator.
FIRST ENLARGED EDITION, AND THE FIRST WITH THE FULL SERIES OF THE MAGNIFICENT LARGE WOODCUTS. The botanical cuts first appeared in the 1562 Herbar (in Czech) and the 1563 New Kreuterbuch printed in Prague, but for this edition the scope was enlarged to include the equally fine zoological cuts and the genre scenes. The excellence of the illustrations is attested by the fact that Duhamel du Monceau saw fit to reprint 250 of the blocks in his Traité des Arbres et Arbustes in 1755. For an account of the history of the woodblocks see Hunt 90. Adams D-672; Hunt 94; Nissen BBI 94.
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