MASCAGNI, Paolo. Anatomia universa XLIV, tabulis aeneis juxta archetypum hominis adulti accuratissime repraesentata... Pisa: Firmin Didot for Nicolò Capurro, 1823-32.
Text in 9 ORIGINAL FASCICLES, 2o (462 x 325 mm); 9 ELEPHANT FOLIO ATLASES CONTAINING THE PLATES (1003 x 738 mm). Atlases: engraved title, engraved dedication leaf and 88 plates, 44 in color, most after Serantoni by Joseph Canacci, all laid loose as issued in wrappers (some spotting, occasional pale offsetting, approximately 10 with some minor discoloration). (Text: pale dampstaining at beginning of third fascicle, some spotting in final fascicle.) Text in original pink printed wrappers, untrimmed (the first and last slightly darkened); atlases in original wrappers, printed paper title labels on wrappers; text and plates in 6 green cloth folding portfolios. Provenance: Niccolai Gamba-Castelli (booklabels on wrappers).
"AN ALMOST INCREDIBLE LEVEL OF DETAIL" (Garrison-Morton)
FIRST EDITION, another of Mascagni's major works left unfinished at his death. In April 1822, his heirs sold the copperplates of the large anatomy to the Pisa professors Vacca-Berlinghieri, Barzellotti and Rosini. There are forty-four plates in color, elaborated by subsequent hand-coloring. Each is accompanied by superposed outline plates marked with letters and keyed to the text. "The size of the bodies is assumed to be three Tuscan braccie, equal to five feet, five inches, Parisian measurement, but such parts as are represented separately are sometimes drawn upon a larger scale. The sheets are so large that an entire body can be composed out of three of them when they are joined together. The muscles are drawn on a flesh-colored background produced with the crayon (by means of the roulette) and are further illuminated by means of the brush. The viscera are faithfully represented: vessels and nerves are shown in red, blue and white, the colors commonly used to represent anatomic subjects... This large anatomic work is unique even today, but it is certainly expensive and inconvenient for practical uses... As the editors assure the reader, it is chiefly recommended to the practicing physician and the surgeon. It may be called complete since nothing, except microscopic anatomy, histology, and the lymphatics of the skin have been omitted. Even the pregnant uterus, the placenta, and the fetus are represented in several illustrations. According to the editors' preface, Mascagni was believed to have delayed the publication of the work because he was always hoping to make his plates without the use of the brush, by means of the color print alone" (Choulant-Frank, pp.318-19).
The work is VERY SCARCE. Only copies of the highly reduced Florence, 1833 edition (see previous lot) appear in American Book Prices Current for the last thirty years. According to Garrison-Morton, very few sets were issued and "those with the plates hand-coloured by the artist, Antonio Serrantoni, are among the most breathtakingly beautiful of all anatomical studies." Garrison-Morton 409.1; Wellcome IV, p.73. (18)