Pigna, Giovanni Battista (1529-1575).
Gli Heroici di Gio. Battista Pigna, a Donno Alfonso da Este II. Duca di Ferrara V.... Venice, Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari, 1561.
4° (210x152 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-M4, N6, *4, **4. 105,  pages. Complete with fol. N6 blank. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page, a different device on fol. N5v. Woodcut animated initials, head- and tailpieces. Fol. L4v within woodcut architectural border. Nineteenth-century cardboards, covered with brown paper. Spine with title in gilt lettering. A good copy, a few repairs to the lower gutter, not affecting the text.
Provenance: from the library of Count Henry Chandon de Briailles (1898-1937; ex-libris on the recto of the front flyleaf).
First and only edition of this famous heroic poem, exceptionally presented in the only-extant copy printed on blue paper.
The Heroici was composed by the renowned humanist Giovan Battista Nicolucci, better known as Giovanni Battista Pigna, secretary to Alfonso II, Duke of Este, historian at the Ferrara court and great commentator of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso. The work is dedicated by Pigna to his illustrious patron, and narrates, over forty-nine ottava rima stanzas, the true event of the duke's fall from his horse during a tournament. The poem is introduced by three books in prose, in which Pigna expounds his theory on tragic poetry and the heroic epic and provides an analysis of the peculiar features of these poetic genres.
Bongi states that of Pigna's Heroici “se ne trovano copie in carta grande ed in carta turchina”, one of which is in the hands of the “cav. Andrea Tessier di Venezia”, referring to the library of Andrea Tessier, sold in Munich in 1900 by Rosenthal, which contained a copy “tiré sur papier bleu” (lot 534), possibly purchased by Henry Chandon de Briailles. A copy on blue paper was also sold in London in 1783, at the sale of the distinguished library collected by Thomas Croft. The catalogue Bibliotheca Croftsiana lists the entry “Pigna (Gio. Batt.) gli Heroici 4° perg. Vineg. per Gab. Giolito 1561. printed upon blue paper”.
Adams P-1208; Bongi Annali II, p. 121; Olschki Choix, 18620; Nuovo-Coppens, I Giolito e la stampa nell'Italia del XVI secolo, Genève 2005, p. 423; Bibliothek Tessier. Katalog eins grossen Theils der Bibliotheken des verstorbenen Chevalier Andrea Tessier und des Marchese de***. Versteigerunge in München vom 21.-23. Mai 1900 durch Jacques Rosenthal, München 1900; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 126.