A book for affluent bibliophiles

Colonna, Francesco (ca. 1433-1527).

La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo, cioe pugna d’amore in sogno. Dou’egli mostra, che tutte le cose humane non sono altro che Sogno: & doue narra molt’altre cose degne di cognitione. Venice, Sons of Aldo Manuzio, 1545.

Colonna, Francesco (ca. 1433-1527) La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo, cioe pugna d’amore in sogno. Dou’egli mostra, che tutte le cose humane non sono altro che Sogno: & doue narra molt’altre cose degne di cognitione. Sons of Aldo Manuzio, 1545.

Folio (286x195 mm). Collation: [π]4, a-y8, z10, A-E8, F4. [234] leaves. Roman type. Aldine device on the title-page and verso of the last leaf. 172 woodcuts, eleven of which are full page. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary vellum over pasteboards with yapp edges and running stitches to spine. Smooth spine with title and date inked in black. A very good copy. First quire slightly browned. A few marginal fingermarks, pale waterstain to the upper corners of fols. a2 and a3. Minor foxing. more prominent on first two quires and the margins and woodcuts of fols. k8, l1r, and l2. Small repair to lower inner corners of fols. a1v and a2r, and to fol. E1r, without any loss; larger repair to fol. a4, affecting some letters on the recto and verso;. Some bibliographic notes in pencil on the front and rear pastedowns.

The rare second edition of the Poliphilo, the most famous illustrated book of the Renaissance. The first edition was printed by Aldus Manutius in 1499 (see no. 43), and the new printing of 1545 suggests a renewed interest in the work, in Italy as well as abroad, for within a year a French translation also appeared, followed by an English translation in 1592.

The second edition is a page-for-page reprint: the book was printed by Aldus' heirs employing the same woodblocks as the 1499 edition, with the exception of seven that were either broken or missing. The redesigned and newly cut woodcuts are found on fols. b4v, b5r, e2v, e5r, o3v, q5v, and x2r.

The text was set in a different roman type. “A single roman type has been used in a single body, although in 1545 the current state of typography offered the possibility of differentiation on roman and italic (both letter forms had small capitals). But there is a major difference: where there were printed initials in 1499 [...] here, in 1545, the printer has left open blank spaces, in which a guide letter has been printed for the illuminator who could then paint in a beautiful initial by the buyer's order [...] this means that the son of Aldus [Paulus Manutius] felt that the market for this book was with affluent bibliophiles: he produced an edition intended to be transformed into a deluxe copy by the buyer. What is special is that in 1545 this fashion had all but passed, so that this edition may be termed an anacronism” (F. A. Janssen, “The Typographical Design of the 'Poliphilus' (1499-1600)”, p. 69). Further, in 1545 the title of the book was here translated into Italian as La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo, with the added phrase Dov'egli mostra, che tutte le cose humane non sono altro che Sogno, the author demonstrating in his book “that all human things are nothing but a dream”.

Adams C-2414; Mortimer Italian, 131; Renouard Alde, 133.14; Ahmanson-Murphy 335; L. Donati, “Di una copia tra le figure del Polifilo (1499) ed altre osservazioni”, La Bibliofilia, 64 (1962), pp. 163-183; G. Mardersteig, “Osservazioni tipografiche sul Polifilo nelle edizioni del 1499 e 1545”, Contributi alla storia del libro italiano. Miscellanea in onore di Lamberto Donati, Firenze 1969, pp. 221-242; F. A. Janssen, “The Typographical Design of the 'Poliphilus' (1499-1600)”, Idem, Technique and Design in the History of Printing, 't Goy-Houten 2004, pp. 57-74; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 103.

$ 68.000
Info