The first collection of Bembo’s Latin prose

Bembo, Pietro (1470-1547).

De Aetna ad Angelum Chiabrielem Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:) Idem. Petri Bembi ad Herculem Strotium De Virgilii Culice et Terentii Fabulis Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:) Idem. Petri Bembi ad Nicolaum Teupolum De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetha Gonzagia Urbini Ducibus Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:): Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni Francesco (1469-1533). Io. Francisci Pici Ad Petrum Bembum De Imitatione Libellus. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530.

Bembo, Pietro (1470-1547) De Aetna ad Angelum Chiabrielem Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:) Idem. Petri Bembi ad Herculem Strotium De Virgilii Culice et Terentii Fabulis Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:) Idem. Petri Bembi ad Nicolaum Teupolum De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetha Gonzagia Urbini Ducibus Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:): Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni Francesco (1469-1533). Io. Francisci Pici Ad Petrum Bembum De Imitatione Libellus. Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530.

Four works in one volume, 4° (210x150 mm). I. Collation: AA-BB8. [16] leaves, the first leaf is a blank. Italic and roman type. One blank space for initial, with printed guide letter. II. Collation: a-d8, e4. [36] leaves, with the first and the two final blanks, and the extra line printed at the bottom of fol. b1r. Italic and roman type. III. Collation: A-G8. [56] leaves, with the first and final blanks. Italic and roman type. One blank space for capital, with printed guide letter. Small loss to the lower right corner of fol. E5, the first four lines of fol. B1r are only partially printed with loss of some letters. IV. Collation: aa-cc8. [24] leaves, the first and last leaf are blank. Italic and roman type. Two blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary limp vellum, title inked vertically, traces of ties. Upper joint cracked, upper cover almost detached. A very fine, unsophisticated copy, with wide margins. A few small stains, insignificant waterstain to the upper blank margin of the last leaves. On the verso of the front flyleaf a bibliographical note in an eighteenth-century hand: 'I never saw any other copy of this reprint of the Aetna of Bembus, printed by Aldus 1495 & exceptionally rare [...]'.

First edition of the Sabbio collection of prose writings by Pietro Bembo, which includes – alongside the second edition of the celebrated De Aetna – the first editions of the dialogues De Virgilii Culice et Terentii fabulis Liber and De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetha Gonzaga Urbini ducibus Liber, as well as the first official edition of De Imitatione. The four works were issued as a set, but bearing a different series of signatures and separate colophons, and thus can sometimes also be found separate.

The dialogue De Aetna relates Bembo's famous 1493 stay in Sicily and his ascent of Mount Etna in that same year, and was printed for the first time by Aldus Manutius in 1495/96. The text published in 1530 differs in some points from that of the Aldine edition and was possibly revised by Bembo himself, who is known to have reworked his writings in view of new editions.

Particularly noteworthy is the fourth text bound here, representing the first authorized edition of Bembo's De imitatione, which had previously appeared in Rome around 1513 without the author's approval. Bembo's ardent Ciceronianism comes to the fore in this work, which is of the greatest significance, representing as it does the critical, and foundational position of Cicero's prose within the Latin humanist tradition. Bembo wrote this short text, dated 1 January 1513, in response to a letter from another outstanding humanist, Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola, the nephew of Giovanni, which is dated 19 September 1512. A second letter from Pico della Mirandola followed, but is not included in the Sabbio edition of 1530. “One of the most popular of Pico's writings, De imitatione consists of a letter addressed to Pietro Bembo, Bembo's reply to this, and a second letter by Gianfrancesco which apparently was never actually sent to Bembo. These letters date from the years 1512-13, which Pico spent in Rome with Bembo. The originals seem to have been lost [...] The first printed edition dates from 1518 [ie c.1513] and contains all three of the letters. Many of the later editions omit Pico's second letter” (Ch. B. Schmitt, Gianfrancesco Pico Della Mirandola (1469–1533) and His Critique of Aristotle, The Hague 1967, p. 199).

Adams-B, 583-586; Sandal, Il mestier delle stamperie dei libri, pp. 155 - 156, nos. 2, 3, 5, 6; C. F. Bühler, “Manuscript Corrections in the Aldine Edition of Bembo's De Aetna”, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 1951, pp. 136-142; R. M. Mariano, “Il De Aetna di P. Bembo e le varianti dell'edizione 1530”, Aevum, 65, 1991, pp. 441-452; L. Quaquarelli-Z. Zanardi, Pichiana: bibliografia delle edizioni e degli studi, Firenze 2005, p. 284; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 85.

$ 6.500
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