12 June 2009
MILAN 1613 -- ANDREINO, Giovanni Battista (1578-1650). L'adamo Sacra rapresentatione. Milan: Geronimo Bordoni, 1613.
4o (229 x 174 mm). G2 with cancel overslip. Engraved title, portrait, one engraved head-piece, one full-page and 38 half-page engravings by CESARE BESSANO. (Some worming in upper gutter margin at end.) Contemporary limp vellum. Provenance: unidentified inkstamps on title.
FIRST EDITION of Andreino's play. Bessano's illustrations show the imaginative set designs created for the performance, including scenes from Genesis and several fantastic flights of devils and monsters. Dedicated to MARIE DE'MEDICI (1575-1642), Queen of France, this beautifully-illustrated verse drama in 5 acts is described by Vinciana as "le opere più significative del teatro secentesco." The author was the son of Francesco and Isabella Andreini, the most famous actors of their age. He had a great success as a comedian in Paris under the name of Leylio and was a favourite with Louis XIII. According to popular belief Milton saw the play during his travels in Italy, which then had its influence the writing of Paradise Lost. Sander notes that some copies contain the portrait of the author as here. BL 17th-Century Italian I, p. 32; Brunet I, 269; Cicognara 1423; Sander 6381; Vinciana 4125.
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