MATTIOLI, PIETRO ANDREA. Libri cinque della historia, & materia medicinale tradotti in linguq volgare Italiana da M. Pietro Andrea Matthiolo Sanese medico. Con amplissimi Discorsi et commenti, et dottissime annotatione et censure del medesimo interprete... [Venice: Nicolo de Bascarini] 1544. Folio, 288 x 191 mm., later vellum, title a little soiled with a 2-inch internal tear (crossing a few letters), some dampstaining on preliminaries (including title) and at end, some minor marginal worming to a few leaves. THE RARE FIRST EDITION of Mattioli's translation of and commentaries on Dioscorides, and what became the most widely disseminated botanical text, woodcut device on title and numerous historiated woodcut initials. Adams D-677; NLM/Durling 1160; Pritzel 5986.
"Mattioli had developed a keen interest in the Materia medica and, like other physicians of his time, he sought to reconcile the teachings of Dioscorides with the innovations of the Arabs, the School of Salerno, and the botanical discoveries arriving every day from the Orient, the Americas, and Europe itself. The result was a book written in Italian and published at Venice in 1544 by Nicolo de Bascarini. Other editions followed, and in 1554 the prestigious Venetian press of Vincent Valgrisi brought out the first Latin edition of the work, illustrated with 562 woodcuts" (Anderson, p. 164). "Its popularity is attested by the number of its editions, said to be about 60, in 32,000 copies" (Hunt, p. xxvi). In subsequent editions, the sixth book was added and the translation and the commentaries revised and enlarged.
Provenance: "Nicolla Rillio et de li amici," early inscription on title -- Kenneth K. Mackenzie; Horticultural Society of New York, bookplate.