The first monograph on Leonardo’s 'Last Supper’

Pino, Domenico (fl. between 18th and 19th century).

Storia genuina del Cenacolo insigne dipinto da Leonardo da Vinci nel refettorio de’ padri domenicani di Santa Maria delle Grazie di Milano.... Milan, Cesare Orena in the Malatesta Press, 1796.

Pino, Domenico (fl. between 18th and 19th century) Storia genuina del Cenacolo insigne dipinto da Leonardo da Vinci nel refettorio de’ padri domenicani di Santa Maria delle Grazie di Milano.... Cesare Orena in the Malatesta Press, 1796.

8° (223x134 mm). [8], 139, [1] pages. Contemporary red morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within elaborate gilt frames, gilt centrepiece. Spine with five raised bands, gilt-tooled; title in gold on blue morocco lettering-piece. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, gilt edges. Small wormholes at the bottom of the spine. A fine copy printed on thick paper. Shelfmark 'L4' on the front flyleaf.

Provenance: old stamp of an unidentified noble family on the title-page. Rare first edition – dedicated to Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany – of the first book entirely devoted to the history of the famous 'Cenacolo' (The Last Supper) fresco painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery in Milan between 1495 and 1498.

The author, the Dominican Domenico Pino, was prior of the monastery when he wrote the book, and thus had access to the conventual archives, which were later dispersed upon the arrival in Milan of Napoleon's troops.

Pino was assigned – by a Milanese printer who was about to publish a new guide of Milan – with the task of collecting more information on the 'Cenacolo' and revising its history. He was then visited by the painter Teodoro Matteini, who had been charged by Grand Duke Ferdinand III with the task of making a copy of the fresco. The copy was later used by Raffaello Morghen for his engraving of the 'Cenacolo'. In scouring the archives, Pino was especially motivated to debunk legends circulating about Leonardo's work, which had discretited the fathers of the convent.

The book therefore represents an important historical resource, chockful of evidentiary material; for example, Pino is able to quote a specific document referring to payment given to Leonardo on June 1497. The text is accompanied by the author's annotations and an extensive index.

Pino's Storia was surpassed a few years later by Giuseppe Bossi's monumental work on Leonardo's 'Cenacolo', published in 1810.

E. Verga, Bibliografia vinciana, Bologna 1931, no. 271; F. Predari, Bibliografia enciclopedica milanese, Milano 1857, p. 443; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 256.

$ 3.800
Info