Palladio, Andrea (1508-1580).
I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura di Andrea Palladio. Ne’ quali, dopo un breue trattato de’ cinque ordini, & di quelli auertimenti, che sono piu necessarij nel fabricare; si tratta delle Case priuate, delle Vie, de i Ponti, delle Piazze, de i Xisti, et de’ Tempij. Venezia, de' Franceschi Domenico, 1570.
Four parts in one volume, folio (290x195 mm). Collation: A2, B-I4; AA-KK4 (quire HH misbound, in the sequence HH2, HH1, HH4, and HH3); AAA-FFF4; AAAA-RRRR4 (fol. FFFF1 signed EEEE1). 67, ; 78 (misnumbered 66), ; 46, ; 128,  pages. Complete with the blank leaves KK4 and RRRR4. Roman and italic type. Each title-page within architectural woodcut borders, de' Franceschi's printer's device included in the upper panel. A different printer's device appears on the verso of fol. RRRR3. 221 woodcut illustrations, plans, and sections (156 are full-page blocks, including eighty-four printed as plates, recto and verso of fourty-two leaves) executed after Palladio's drawings by Giovanni and Cristoforo Chrieger, Cristoforo Coriolano, and others. Numerous woodcut animated initials. Handsome early nineteenth-century green calf, over pasteboards. Covers framed by undulating gilt fillet, small floral tools at each corner. Smooth spine, divided into compartments by simple dotted gilt fillets, title lettered in gold on red morocco label; on the fourth compartment the inscription 'PRIMA EDIZIONE', and imprint at the foot, both in gilt lettering. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, board edges decorated with gilt freeze, inside dentelles. Green silk bookmark, gilt edges. The lower corners lightly bumped. A very fine copy; light foxing in places, the lower margin of fol. I2 slightly trimmed.
A milestone in the history of architecture: the first edition of the Quattro Libri dell'Architettura by the Paduan theorist and practising architect Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, universally known as Andrea Palladio, after the name given to him by his patron and renowned humanist Giangiorgio Trissino. He was primarily active as an architect in Venice, Vicenza, and along the Brenta river, where he built magnificent villas for wealthy members of the Venetian patriciate.
This authoritative and influential treatise celebrates the purity and simplicity of classical architecture, drawing its inspiration from Roman sources, especially Vitruvius, and Italian Renaissance architects, above all Leon Battista Alberti. The work is divided into four parts or libri, devoted to orders and elementary problems, domestic buildings, public buildings, and town planning and temples. “Palladio followed the rules of classical Roman architecture more closely than any other architect, even sometimes at the cost of practicability and domestic comfort. In spite of the vogue for the baroque and the fact that Palladio left no immediate successors, his book exerted a powerful influence on contemporary architecture and classical ideals until the end of the eighteenth century [...] 'Palladianism' became a party label in the world of connoisseurship and England blossomed with buildings 'in the Palladian style' – two centuries after Palladio had created it. From England the style made its way into Scotland, Ireland and America” (PMM). The treatise was reprinted and translated many times over the following centuries.
The publication of 1570 is rightly famous and highly sought after by collectors for the splendid series of woodcuts which accompany the text. The woodblocks were re-used in a 1581 edition printed in Venice, and later again in France in the seventeenth century. Some of the woodcuts are generally attributed to Cristoforo Coriolano and the brothers Giovanni and Cristoforo Chrieger. Especially noteworthy are the woodcuts in the second libro depicting plans and elevations of villas, including the famous Villa Maser built for Palladio's patron Daniello Barbaro.
Mortimer Italian, 352; Berlin Katalog 2592; Cicognara 594; Fowler 212; Olschki Choix, 15125; PMM 92; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 145.