PACIOLI, Luca (c.1445-1514). Divina proportione. Opera a tutti glingegni perspicaci e curiosi necessaria. Ove ciascun studioso de philosophia: prospective picture sculptura: architectura: musica: e alter mathematice. Venice: Alessandro and Paganino de’ Paganini, June 1509.
3 parts in one, 4° (288 x 203mm). Title printed in red and black with white-on-red woodcut initial D, with blank E10, 87 woodcut plates at end, including 23 depicting letters, the final plate depicting a genealogical tree printed in red and black, diagrams in margin of text, white-on-black woodcut initials with criblé, knotwork, floral or ornithological ornament. (Title a little soiled with 2 minor marginal repairs, faint dampstaining and very occasional light spotting, small wormtrack in inner margin of E3-a4, plate ‘G’ lightly stained, few plates with minor marginal repair and small stain.) 18th-century vellum, yellow edges (lightly soiled). Provenance: manuscript annotation in margin of b2 and c9 in different hands — unidentified signature at bottom of title — erased ?inscription on free endpaper — Gian Giacomo Trivulzio (bookplate, book-label and 3 other small stamps, ‘Duplicate’ stamp at end) — Ladislao Reti (1901-73, one of the foremost authorities on Leonardo da Vinci; bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS FUNDAMENTAL WORK. A FRESH AND CRISP COPY. A landmark of Renaissance geometry with woodcuts of geometrical shapes cut from designs by Leonardo da Vinci. The edition as a whole is dedicated to the Florentine gonfaloniere, Pietro Soderini. The first work, dedicated to Ludovico Sforza and composed in Milan in 1497, treats divine proportion, containing a summary of Euclid's propositions on the golden section (Paganini had in fact printed Pacioli's edition of Euclid just ten days earlier) and a study of regular and semi-regular polyhedrons. The second work, on architecture, inspired by Vitruvius and Alberti, was composed later and dedicated to Pacioli's pupils at Sansepolcro, to which he added a treatise on the right proportions of roman lettering. The third work, dedicated to Soderini, is Pacioli's Italian translation of a Latin treatise of geometry by Piero della Francesca, who is unacknowledged. At the Sforza court Pacioli met Leonardo da Vinci, who consulted him on matters relating to mathematics; together they fled to Florence after the capture of Milan by the French. Pacioli's writings are of the greatest importance for the study of Leonardo and in particular the plates that form the last part of this book. The woodcut of the geometric human head is after Piero della Francesca (a drawing from De prospectiva pingendi); the 23 woodcuts of roman capital-letter forms (with O twice and Z omitted) are original to this edition; the 59 woodcuts of solid and open geometric forms are after Leonardo da Vinci (his designs in the 1498 manuscript now in the Ambrosiana) with the final plate misnumbered 61 as usual; the 3 unnumbered architecture plates are found before plate 1 and between plates 13 and 14, and the woodcut of the genealogical tree of proportion and proportionality is copied from the block in Pacioli's 1494 Somma di aritmetica. Adams P-7; Isaac 12513; Essling 1645; Mortimer Italian 346; Sander 5365/6.