From Βenedetto Varchi’s and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio’s libraries

Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321).

Dante. De la Vωlgare Elωquenzia... Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, January 1529. (bound with:) Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550). Dialωgω... intitulato il Castellanω, nel quale si tratta de la lingua italiana. [Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, 1529]. (bound with:) Ιdem. Epistola... de le lettere nuωvamente aggiunte ne la lingua italiana... Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, February 1529. (uniformly bound with:) Ιdem. La Pωetica di M. Giωvan Giorgiω Trissinω. Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, April 1529.

Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321) Dante. De la Vωlgare Elωquenzia... Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, January 1529. (bound with:) Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550). Dialωgω... intitulato il Castellanω, nel quale si tratta de la lingua italiana. [Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, 1529]. (bound with:) Ιdem. Epistola... de le lettere nuωvamente aggiunte ne la lingua italiana... Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, February 1529. (uniformly bound with:) Ιdem. La Pωetica di M. Giωvan Giorgiω Trissinω. Tolomeo Gianicolo, April 1529.

Four works uniformly bound in two volumes, large 4° and small folio (278x166 mm). First volume: three works. I. Collation: a-b8, c6, d4. [26] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. II. A-B8, C4. [20] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. III. Collation: A4, aa-bb4, cc6. [17], [1] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on each title page. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Second volume: collation: a-r4, s2. LXVIII, [2] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on the verso of fol r4. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters.

Uniformly bound in eighteenth-century half-leather over pasteboards. Marbled covers. Smooth spines divided into compartments by narrow gilt frieze, title in gold on lettering-piece, imprint lettered to the foot. Pink rose silk bookmarks. Pale blue edges. At the lower extremities of the spines, small nineteenth-century paper labels, bearing the shelfmarks 'E.VIII.15' and 'E.VIII.16' respectively. Upper joint of the first volume slightly cracked; spines and corners of both volumes slightly worn. A good copy, in the first volume the opening title-page and fol. a8 uniformly browned; minor loss to the lower blank margin of the first title-page, without any loss. Both volumes foxed in places; a few spots, fingermarks, and early ink stains.

Provenance: on the first title-page of the first volume ownership inscription of Benedetto Varchi (1503-1565; 'Di Bened. Varchi'); another erased, and quite illegible ownership inscription in the same title-page; both volumes from the library of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio (1774-1831; his initials G.G.T. inked on the front pastedowns; the notices '1802. 23 7.bre. Broc' and 'fr. 45' on the front pastedown of the first volume).

A fine set, uniformly bound, from the celebrated library once owned by Count Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, which was particularly well endowed with testi di lingua. An additional noteworthy feature is its earliest recorded ownership in the first volume, to be referred to the outstanding Florentine humanist Benedetto Varchi.

The first volume opens with the first edition of Trissino's Italian translation of the De vulgari eloquentia, the unfinished treatise written in Latin by an exiled Dante between 1304 and 1307. The subject of the work is the nature of poetry in vernacular languages, above all Italian; against their detractors, the work attempts to defend the eloquence of vernacular languages, which, in Dante's opinion, have the potential of being just as dignified as Latin. Trissino edited the De la Volgare Eloquenzia on the basis of a manuscript in his possession, today in the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milan (ms 1088) – the original Latin text only appeared in 1577.

In addition to the Italian translation of the De vulgari eloquentia the miscellaneous first volume also includes – as is frequently found to be the case – two treatises composed by Trissino himself: the first edition of the Dialogo intitulato il Castellano and the reprint of the Epistola de le lettere nuovamente aggiunte ne la lingua italiana, first published in 1524.

The second volume presents the first edition of Trissino's Poetica, devoted to Aristotle's theory of poetry, and likewise printed – as with the editions bound in the first volume – by the enigmatic Vicenza printer Tolomeo Gianicolo, and set in the handsome italic type, with the addition of the Greek vocals ε and ω, designed for him by Ludovico degli Arrighi.

For other books from Varchi's library see nos. 23 and 104 in the present catalogue.

I. Adams D-121; STC Italian 208; Mambelli p. 277; Gamba 1709. II. Adams T-950; STC Italian 681; Mortimer Italian, 507; Gamba 1704. III. Adams T-951; STC Italian 681; Gamba 1704; IV. Adams T-955; Balsamo-Tinto, Origini del corsivo nella tipografia italiana del Cinquecento, Milano 1977, pp. 130-131, pls. 50-51; G. Castellani, “Da Tolomeo Ianiculo a Bartolomeo Zanetti via Giovangiorgio Trissino”, La Bibliofilia, 94 (1992), pp. 171-185; M. Prunai Falciani, “Manoscritti e libri appartenuti al Varchi nella Biblioteca Riccardiana di Firenze”, Accademie e biblioteche d'Italia, 53 (1985), pp. 14-29; A. Sorella, “La Biblioteca Varchi”, B. Varchi, L'Ercolano, Pescara 1995, pp. 155-166; R. Norbedo, “Alcuni libri posseduti da Benedetto Varchi,” Lettere italiane, 56 (2004), pp. 462-467; P. Scapecchi, “Ricerche sulla biblioteca di Varchi con una lista di volumi da lui posseduti”, V. Bramanti (ed.), Benedetto Varchi 1503-1565, Roma 2007, pp. 309 -318; Autografi di letterati italiani. Il Cinquecento, Roma 2009, pp. 337-351; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 81.

$ 15.000
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