12 June 2009
VENICE 1642 -- BERTELLI, Francesco. Il Carnevale Italiano Mascherato Oue si Veggono in Figura Varie Inuetione di capritii Fra(nces)co Bert(ell)i. [Venice], 1642.
8o (145 x 91 mm). 24 engraved plates, including title-page (one plate torn at gutter margin with loss, a few plate marks trimmed). Modern cloth-backed boards.
A very rare and wonderful series of engravings devoted exclusively to the masquerades related to the Venetian carnival. Wearing fanciful masks was typical at these feasts, and it was meant to create equality between the social classes. These disguises were either figures such as the wild man or demon, or more caricatures of people from everyday life: peasants, masters, poets or musicians. Francesco Bertelli was writer, editor and typographer in Padua in the first half of the seventeenth century. Some of the plates were copied from his father Pietro's Diversarum nationum habitus (1589). See article by Lina Padoan Urban ("Il Carnavale Veniziano, nelle Maschere incise da Francesco Bertelli," in Il Polifilo, Milano, 1986.) an attempt to determine the composition of this suite and the various prints. VERY RARE: only three copies have appeared at auction in at least thirty years, most recently at Sotheby's Paris, 11 October (containing 26 plates). Plate counts vary from copy to copy, from 24 in the Colas and Lipperheide copies to the Correr Museum copy in Venice, which appears to be the most complete with 28 plates. Colas 317 (24 plates); Lipperheide, 3168 (24 plates).
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