BENEDICT XI (1240-1304). In Evangelium Matthaei absolutissima commentaria, edited by Georgius Lazarus. Venice: Damianus Zenarus, 1603.
2° (333 x 233). Double column, ruled in black. Title in red and black and with large woodcut device. Woodcut ornaments. With initial blank. (Some browning and spotting, D2 and T2 inkstained, final leaf with lower corner cut away.)
BINDING: contemporary Roman morocco gilt by Francesco and Prospero Soresino for [presentation to?] Clement VIII, the Papal arms blocked within double panel, gilt and blind lines of the inner panel forming a cornice above and below the arms, tooled with arabesques and two winged caryatids, the caryatids reprised in arabesque side-pieces, outer panel with repeated arabesques, floral tools and heraldic stars at inner corners, gilt spine with repeated floral ornament, gilt edges (spine wormed and restored, a few stains and worm tracks on covers).
PROVENANCE: Pope Clement VIII (binding) -- some scoring and occasional annotations in an early hand -- Count Guido Vianini Tolomei.
A MOST UNUSUAL PAPAL BINDING BY FRANCESCO AND PROSPERO SORESINO. Clement VIII (Ippolito Aldobrandini, 1536-1605) became pope in 1592. Although Roman binders of the period were fond of bindings with human features, the tool of a winged caryatid makes this binding particularly unusual. For the tool of a human face below a baldaquin, cf. a similar tool on a binding for Sigismund III, King of Poland (J.R. Abbey sale, Sotheby's, 1967, III, lot 2122; tool reproduced in Hobson, French and Italian Collectors and Their Bindings ... in the Library of J.R. Abbey, 1953, 152 fig. 146). For another binding by the Vatican binders, Francesco and Prospero Soresino, see the binding on a book of 1605 in the exhibition catalogue Legatura Romana Barocca 1565-1700, 1991, no. 16, with the same winged caryatid and face-below-baldaquin tools. Benedict XI's commentary on St. Mathew's gospel was dedicated not to Clement VIII but his nephew, Cardinal Cinzio Passeri Aldobrandini (1551-1610). Not in BLSTC 17th-Century Italian.