A re-use of the magnificent Herodotus’ border

(Benedetto Bordone). Hieronymus, Sophronius Eusebius (347-420).

Commentaria in Bibliam. Ed: Bernardinus Gadolus. Venice, Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, 1497 - 25 August 1498.

(Benedetto Bordone). Hieronymus, Sophronius Eusebius (347-420) Commentaria in Bibliam. Ed: Bernardinus Gadolus. Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, 1497 - 25 August 1498.

Three volumes, folio (341x223mm). Collation: I. A8, <2-3>6, <4-6>6, a-c8, d10, e8, f6, g-h10, i8, k6, l-u8, x-y6. Fol. o3 signed m3. II. A-R8, S10, T-Z8, AA-BB8, CC6, DD-HH8, DDD-EEE8, FFF-HHH6, DDDD-GGGG6, HHHH4, II8, KK-LL6. III. Collation: aa-ff8, ll-ss8, tt10, vv-zz8 (yy8 blank), &&12-1, a8,b-c6, AA6, aAA8 (fol. aAA blank), BBb-PPp8, QQq6. In all 839 of [845] leaves, lacking, as usual, quire BB6, including the registrum. Text in one column, 48-61 lines. Type: 20:170G, 32*:83G, 39:82R. Large woodcut printer's device on fols. PPp8r and QQq6r. White-on-black woodcut candelabra border and fourteen-line animated initial depicting St. Jerome on fol. aAA2r. Woodcut decorated, and animated initials throughout, mostly on black ground. Late nineteenth-century quarter-mottled leather, over pasteboards. Boards covered with marbled paper. Spines with three raised bands, title lettered in gilt. Covers abraded in places; spines lightly damaged at the top. A good copy, some stains, spots, and waterstains. A few fingermarks, old repair to the upper blank leaves of the first leaf of the first volume, without any loss. Contemporary marginalia in the third volume. Modern, pencilled foliation in the upper corner of the leaves, bibliographical notes on the pastedowns and flyleaves.

Provenance: Giovanni di Maffio, San Giovanni Valdarno, Arezzo (ownership inscription dated 1532 'Di giouannj di maffio di ualdarno di sopra', on the recto of the first leaf of each volume); from the library of the Franciscan monastery St. Bonaventura al Bosco, Tuscany (ownership inscription, partly erased and dated 1545, 'Della libraria del bosco di mugello [?] da Biagio [?]', on the recto of the second leaf of the first volume, and on the first leaf of the second and third one).

This Venetian edition of Jerome – edited for the de Gregoriis brothers by Bernardinus Gadolus – contains on fol. aAA2r, around the first text-page of the Expositio in Psalterium, a re-use of one of the finest woodcut borders of the fifteenth century: the white-on-black woodcut border drawn and cut by Benedetto Bordone (1450/55-1530) for the Herodotus issued by the same printing house in 1494 (see no. 36). The latter publication contained a large woodcut depicting the Greek historian crowned by Apollo, which is replaced here with a fourteen-line animated initial showing St. Jerome at his desk. There are numerous other ornamental initials throughout the text, some of them with paired dolphins and mostly on black ground.

The present edition is a handsome example of the extraordinary imagery and inventiveness of Benedetto Bordone. He was a great protagonist of the multi-faceted world of the Venetian book; a skilful miniaturist from Padua, he learned to profit from the Venetian printing industry and was capable of re-defining and developing his artistic talent, adapting it to the newly produced printed books, and becoming, in the early sixteenth century, one of the most esteemed and sought-after designers among all the printers active in the Venetian calli and campi, with a special link to the Aldine Press (see no. 43). An erudite and versatile artist, he shared with Aldus clients, friends, and patrons, but above all a life-long passion for the ancient world and its artful transmission to their contemporaries.

H 8581*; GW 12419; BMC V, 350; IGI 4729; Goff H-160; Essling 1170; Sander 3386; L. Armstrong, “Benedetto Bordon, 'Miniator', and Cartography in Early Sixteenth-Century Venice”, Eadem, Studies of Renaissance Miniaturists in Venice, London 2003, 2, pp. 591-643; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 40.

$ 12.000