London, South Kensington
16 February 2001
DANTE ALIGHIERI. [Divina Commedia], commentary by Christoforo Landino and Alessandro Vellutello, edited by Francesco Sansovino, Venice: Domenico Nicolino, for Giovanni Battista and Melchiore Sessa and brothers, 1564. 2° (298 x 204mm.), title with large, crudely hand-coloured woodcut oval portrait of Dante within elaborate scrollwork border with winged figures, text in italic with commentary surround in roman type, initials and ornaments, 95 woodcut illustrations, one full-page, most with some hand-colouring, printer's device within scrollwork border at end (2 wormholes and some staining in margin of title, some minor marginal worming and staining), contemporary mottled calf, spine with raised bands and calf lettering-piece gilt (joints split, some surface cracking, extremities rubbed), bookplate (2) printed in red, early annotation, some passages of commentary crossed out. Adams D103; Brunet II, 504; Mortimer Italian 147.
First edition to print the commentaries of Landino and Vellutello together, first Sansovino edition. The title portrait is new to this edition; Mortimer suggests that it may derive from a portrait of Dante by Vasari. The text woodcuts were cut for Francesco Marcolini's 1544 edition of Vellutello's commentary and were used again by the Sessa brothers for their 1578 and 1596 editions of Dante. Mortimer describes them as "an extension of the commentary, a more instructive form of illustration".
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