VITRUVIUS POLLIO, Marcus. De architectura libri dece. Translated by Cesare Cesariano (1475-1543). Commentary by Cesariano, Benedetto Giovio, and Bono Mauro. Como: Gottardo da Ponte for Agostino Gallo and Aloisio Pirovano, 15 July 1521.
Large 2o (384 x 260 mm). Roman type, a few words in Greek, text with commentary surround. Privileges from Pope Leo X and Franois I on verso of title, errata and editors' note at end (Z8r). 117 woodcuts (including one small repeated cut), of which 10 are full-page, printer's large woodcut swan device on title, smaller device on Z7v, large historiated and foliated white-on-black woodcut initials, small foliated initials. (Some intermittent browning, a few pale stains.) Late 19th-century vellum gilt by J. LEIGHTON (lightly soiled, joints just starting). Provenance: 17th-century annotation F7; E.F. Bosanquet (bookplate); W. Gedney Beatty (1869-1941), American architect (gifted to): The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Department of Prints (bookplate recording the bequest, cancelled).
FIRST EDITION IN A MODERN LANGUAGE AND ONE OF THE FINEST ILLUSTRATED BOOKS OF THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE. As recorded in the concluding editors' address to the reader, the Milanese Cesare Cesariano (1483-1543) abruptly abandoned the project after quarreling with the publishers Gallo and Pirovano in May 1521; his commentary ends at chapter 6 of Book IX, and the remainder was completed by Benedetto Giovio da Comasco and Bono Mauro da Bergamo. An autograph note by Cesariano in the copy in the Biblioteca Melziana supplies details of the publishing contract, including the edition size of 1300 copies. The fine illustrations, of which many were cut by Cesariano himself (one, on folio X6r, is signed with his monogram and dated 1519), clearly show the influence of Leonardo da Vinci, and Kristeller believed them to have been in fact the work of one of his pupils. Although some of the woodcuts follow the classical models of the previous editions, others show water-wheels and various mechanical devices. The three full-page cuts of the cathedral of Milan are apparently the first precisely measured illustrations of Gothic architecture in a printed book. This copy with the uncorrected state of the heading ("tuta lopera") on final leaf. Adams V-914; Berlin Kat 1802; Cicognara 698; Dibner Heralds 170; Dyson Perrins 232; Fowler 395; Harvard/Mortimer Italian 544; Paul Kristeller, Die lombardische Graphik der Renaissance (Berlin 1913) 362; Millard Italian 158; Norman 2158; Sander 7696.