Eighty Days: Il colore della passione (Omnibus) (Italian Edition)
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Thus in a catalogue of illustrated books we naturally expect to be shown how one style after another makes its bid for popularity, and when some individual essay in it has achieved success establishes itself by the help of the imitators who hurry in to secure a share of the profits. The fact that in the fifteenth century every centre of printing at which book-illustration was in vogue, except on the very smallest scale, developed its individual style, suggested at first an arrangement on lines similar to those which Robert Proctor's Index has made familiar to all students of early printing, i.
Very strong objections, however, were soon discovered to this course. Even when applied to printing it is not without disadvantages. Before it could be adapted to book-illustrations some nice questions would have to be decided, e. On the other hand, if we confine ourselves to woodcuts, are we to follow the Prince d'Essling in regarding the woodcut patterns stamped as a basis for painted decoration in certain copies of books printed at Venice during the years , as conferring on the city itself, or on the printers of these books, priority among users of woodcuts? On the score of such added designs the Prince treated vii the books in which he found them as illustrated or decorated editions.
Since, however, the evidence points to the designs having been stamped not by the printers themselves, but in an illuminator's or book-finisher's workshop, it is evident that to treat such a woodcut border as conferring decorative priority upon a whole edition and the printers who produced it goes beyond the premisses and introduces an element of uncertainty very undesirable in a principle of arrangement.
It remains possible that closer study of the technique of the woodcuts found in the books of individual printers and publishers during the great period of Italian book-illustration which began about might lead to some useful results. Such an investigation, however, belongs to bibliography or iconography rather than to the business of the compiler of the catalogue of a private collector.
On the whole, therefore, the most suitable basis for arrangement appeared to be that of the simple chronological order of publication, without further subdivision, either under towns or printers. Jerome, and on the other hand the strong Florentine influence which appears at Venice in some of the cheap illus- trated books, more especially those issued by the firm of Sessa about the end of the century.
For the present catalogue there is a further advantage in a chronological arrangement in its obviating the necessity for special headings to take in the few early books which are included in the collection purely as specimens of printing, and also some works of independent interest, notably the series of Arithmetics which, even when incidentally illustrated, have really a subject-, rather than a chronological, importance. With these also must be reckoned a few later unillustrated books, of small typographical merit, including several Savonarola tracts, which are bound with illustrated books and are here registered chiefly for the sake ot completeness.
It seems probable that at Florence the usual reckoning was from March 25, but no one, as far as I am aware, has set himself to look for exceptions. It is certain that at Venice the year was reckoned from January i as well as from March i, and at Rome from January i as well as from March As regards other cities very little is known.
The Sweynheym and Pannartz books are decorated entirely by hand, those from the press of Johann and Wendelin of Speier by hand over a woodcut groundwork, Jenson's entirely by hand, as is also the Sermonarium of Michael Carchanus printed by Franz Renner and Nicolaus of Frankfort, from which a page is shown as a plate. Between the earlier and later of these is the Verona Valturius of , the second illustrated book printed in Italy, the first being the Medita- tiones of Cardinal Turrecremata printed at Rome by Ulrich Han in and here represented by the third edition, printed in , itself only recently discovered.
This contains all but one of the original woodcuts see No. The Verona Valturius is not particularly well printed, but fully deserves the praise which has been bestowed on the vigour of its woodcuts. They are certainly on the whole better than the corresponding pictures in the contemporary manuscripts of the work, with which they agree pretty closely. After the Valturius we come to a series of works printed by Erhard Ratdolt and his partners at Venice, the fine decorative borders in which seem to have been rather coldly received, since they attracted no imitators and Ratdolt did not put them in his latest Venetian books.
The illustrations in Ratdolt's ventures are very inferior to the decorative work, though those to the astrological books, both in the original cuts and in copies of them, enjoyed a long popularity. The verses quoted from the Hyginus of No. Under we find a Treviso book, which, besides being a character- istic specimen of the early printing there, is the earliest printed book on Arithmetic and of great rarity; under the celebrated Florentine edition of Dante's Divina Commedia, of which the early cantos are illustrated with engravings on copper, a method of decoration speedily abandoned as too troublesome.
In or about the same year we have the two editions of the Opuscula of Philippus de Barberiis. The first of these ix b presents a bibliographical puzzle which, it is believed, is here for the first time fully explained.
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Illustrators of some skill were employed on both editions, but the cutter employed by De Lignamine was utterly untrained, and many of the woodcuts in the rival edition are thin and stiff. After more Ratdolt books we come in to the Aesop, published at Naples by Francesco Tuppo with the help of his ' Germani fidelissimi as to whom the latest theory is that they were simply workmen in Tuppo's employment and changed from time to time.
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The Aesop cuts stand out as among the most individual of Italian book-illustrations, their strongly marked features remaining impressive, whether they are liked or disliked. We meet next with the illustrated work commissioned by Boninus de Boninis at Brescia in , his most important book being the Divina Commedia of the latter year, the cuts to which atone to some extent for their lack of art by a certain rude naivete, which appears again in the undated Aesop No. With the frontispieces to the already mentioned Sphaera Mundi of Venice, , we come to a style much more advanced and ambitious, though neither the design nor the workmanship is entirely successful.
In the Trionfi of we are back again in naivete-, the cuts to the edition of show more craftsmanship, though they cannot escape the charge of being flat. The illustrated work of the decade to was haphazard and sporadic, that of to tentative and uncertain. The last eleven years of the century, on the other hand, witnessed the full flowering of Italian book-illustration, and were finely ushered in at Florence with the single woodcut to the Laude of Jacopone da Todi and at Venice by the better cuts of the Malermi Bible printed by Giovanni Ragazzo for Lucantonio Giunta.
The figure of the Madonna in the Laude is rather weak and the angels are carelessly handled, but Jacopone himself might come from a picture by a great master. As for the Bible cuts — the good ones those to the New Testament are utterly spoilt by bad cutting — they achieve their aim with practically complete success. Stories can seldom have been told with such vivid simplicity in so small a space.
In comparison with them the cuts in the two editions of the Divina Commedia appear but hack- work. In the master and his class of the Formulario di Lettere of Christophoro Landino we again find ourselves, this time at Florence, in the presence of a craftsman of consummate skill ; the figure of the youth who is writing on his knees is extraordinarily good.
The large woodcuts of the Venetian Fasciculo de Medicina have made their reputation by their X size and a certain spaciousness of effect. In the Livy cuts we find the method of the Malermi Bible appHed with somewhat less charm. In the Giuoco di Scacchi of Florence, , with its border and extensive use of the natural black of the uncut block, we find the Florentine style fully developed.
During the remaining years of the century we can trace it, still at its finest, in the Epistole e Evangehi of , the most notable book in this collection, in numerous Savonarola tracts, in the Divote Meditationi, and in a few early miracle plays, while in the Libro delli Commandamenti di Dio we have a pretty instance of the rehandling of a Venetian illustration by a Florentine cutter. Of Venetian work itself different aspects are shown in the cut ot Santa Catarina dictating to her secretaries, in the border-pieces to the Herodotus and Lucian of and Epitome Almagesti of , in the fine adaptation of BeUini's picture of Lorenzo Giustiniani and his little crucifer, in the famous Hypnerotomachia and in the pictures of saints in the Quattuor viuendi regulae of Joannes Franciscus and the Epistole of Santa Catarina, while Milanese work is represented by the rather grotesque frontispiece to the Anteros of Baptista Fregoso and by the Practica Musicae of Gafori, Ferrarese by the pleasing picture of Madonna and Holy Child from the De regimine filiorum of Palagarius, the De Claris MuHeribus of Bergomensis and the Epistles of S.
Jerome, and Bolognese by the Viaggio al sancto Jerusalem. As compared with that of its predecessor the work of the sixteenth century is much less full of charm. It is thus natural that we find our- selves most interested in woodcuts which, like that of S. Louis of France in the Opus Regale of Vivaldus Saluzzo, , are fifteenth century in tone, or which preserve fifteenth-century cuts as in the Florentine Ninfale Fiesolano of , or copy them as in the Trionfi of Petrarch included in the Appendix.
Another group of books rather richly represented in this collection have attracted notice mainly because of the controversies as to the personahty of the woodcutter known as Zoan Andrea. At the time when these were being issued at Venice publishers in other Italian cities had almost ceased to give illustrators new commissions, but the Rappresentazioni or Miracle Plays continued xi b 2 popular at Florence, and the cuts in them, like those in the already mentioned Ninfale Fiesolano, often give proof of earlier editions now lost.
Before the catalogue ends, in Italy, as all over Europe, woodcuts had been beaten out of the field by engravings on copper, and the old-world charm ' had disappeared.
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Most of the titles and collations in the present catalogue were originally written by Mr. George England, to whom the present writer has previously been indebted for excellent help. It should be said, however, that the titles having been originally written to be copied on a typewriter Mr. England is not responsible for any errors introduced in fitting them for the honour of print.
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It should also be noted that as the fifteenth century is left farther and farther behind, and title-pages become complicated with italics and small capitals, the attempt to indicate their typography has been abandoned, as not worth the ugliness which it would have introduced into the transcripts. With these explanations the catalogue may be left to speak for itself. Cremona, Franciscus Ricardus de Lucre, Woodcut design on lower cover Frontispiece No. De Ciuitate Dei. Venice, Lower part of first page of text Facing page 4 No.
Manual Eighty Days: Il colore della passione (Omnibus) (Italian Edition)
First page of text Facing page 9 No. Historia Naturale. Woodcut design on upper cover Facing page No. Missale Romanum. Naples, c. The Crucifixion. Facing page xiii OgnorceammafideH0. Rome, S. Plannck, The Magi. From the block cut for the edition of Aurelii Augustini de ciuitate dei primi libri incipiunt Rubric?
Sub anno a natiuitate domini. Type i semi-gothic mm. Proctor One of four books printed by Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, the proto- typographers of Italy, at the Benedictine monastery at Subiaco, some thirty miles from Rome.