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Tarentino, Secondo (fl. mid 16th century).

Della Bradamante gelosa i cinque primi canti, di M. Secondo Tarentino. Al reverendissimo Monsignor Francesco Colonna Arcivescovo Tarentino.

Tarentino, Secondo (fl. mid 16th century). Della Bradamante gelosa i cinque primi canti, di M. Secondo Tarentino. Al reverendissimo Monsignor Francesco Colonna Arcivescovo Tarentino. Venice, Giovanni Andrea Vavassori called Guadagnino, 1552.

8° (155x99 mm). Collation: A-I8, K4. 76 leaves. Italic and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. With five half-page woodcut illustrations; five woodcut historiated initials at the beginning of each canto. Green morocco binding signed by Bauzonnet-Trautz. Covers framed with triple gilt fillets, spine with five raised bands and gilt title. Inside dentelles, marbled flyleaves, gilt edges. Corners and joints slightly worn. A very good copy; small stain in the outer margin of the first and last leaves.

Provenance: from the library of the Protestant Academy of Sedan (seventeenth-century ownership inscription‘Bibliotheca Sedanensis' on the title-page); Guglielmo Libri (1803-1869; see Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de M L****, Paris 1847, lot 1096; sold for 90 francs).

$ 10,000

Extremely rare first edition of this poem in ottava rima, of which only three copies are recorded among Italian institutional libraries. The Bradamante gelosa, with its elaborate plot full of action and adventure, is a celebration of human folly that overturns traditional chivalric values. Amidst the love story that unfolds between Bradamante, Orlando's cousin, and Ruggiero, Tarentino shows Medoro to be the real hero, while Orlando is repeatedly found being teased in front of Angelica. In the poem Medoro becomes an emblem of the ideal Renaissance Man, incontrast to Orlando, the arrogant and rough nobleman who relies only on his status and physical strength. The work was reissued in Venice by Guadagnino in 1562, and again by Domenico Imberti in 1619 and 1623. Little is known about the life and figure of Secondo Tarentino, who evidently originated from Taranto (Apulia). He was probably in the service of Francesco Colonna, archbishop of Taranto, to whom theBradamante gelosa is dedicated, and whose family is celebrated in a verse composition printed on the verso of the title-page as well as throughout the work. He also wrote the comedy Il capitan bizzarro, issued in Venice in 1551 and 1567. During the seventeenth century this copy was kept at the Academia Sedanensis, i.e., the Protestant Academy of Sedan, which was founded in 1607 under the leadership of Prince Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, and whose library was dispersed in 1642 after the French annexation of Sedan. Later the volume came into the possession of the well-known Italian collector and ‘bibliomane' Guglielmo Libri; the copy is described in the catalogue of his Parisian sale of 1847, with the high praise, “Charmant exemplaire, avec témoins, de cette édition originale et très rare, que M. Melzi n'a jamais pu voir” (Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de M L****, p.71).

Melzi-Tosi p. 272; M. Marti, “Prima ricognizione della ‘Bradamante gelosa' di Secondo Tarentino”, Letteratura e filologia. Studi in onore di C. F. Goffis, Foggia 1985, pp. 121-138.