Navigating Venetian painting

Boschini, Marco (1613-1678).

La carta del nauegar pitoresco dialogo tra un Senator venetian deletante, e un professor de Pitura, soto nome d’Ecelenza, e de Compare. Compartì in oto venti Con i quali la Naue venetiana vien conduta in l’alto Mar dela Pitura, come assoluta dominante de quelo a confusion de chi non intende el bossolo dela calamita.... Venice, Francesco Baba, 1660.

Boschini, Marco (1613-1678) La carta del nauegar pitoresco dialogo tra un Senator venetian deletante, e un professor de Pitura, soto nome d’Ecelenza, e de Compare. Compartì in oto venti Con i quali la Naue venetiana vien conduta in l’alto Mar dela Pitura, come assoluta dominante de quelo a confusion de chi non intende el bossolo dela calamita.... Francesco Baba, 1660.

4° (203x150 mm). Collation: [π]4, a-b4, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Zzz4, Aaaa-Qqqq4, Rrrr6. [24], 680 [i.e. 682; pages 638-639 repeated in numbering], [10] pages. Roman and italic type. Allegorical frontispiece, and author's portrait, after a drawing by Pietro Bellotto; twenty-five full-page illustrations, all engraved by Boschini. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Covers within outer border of double fillet in gold, gilt cornerpieces; at the centre fleuron. Smooth spine decorated in gold, title gilt-lettered and repeated in ink. Traces of ties, edges gilt and gauffered. A beautiful copy. Small hole in the last three leaves, slightly affecting the text, some insignificant stains on a few leaves.

Rare first edition, in its magnificent contemporary binding, of this poem in Venetian dialect, divided into the eight parts of a wind compass (called Venti i.e, winds), and leading the reader through the sea of the Venetian painting.

The Venetian Boschini was a contemporary of Palma il Giovane and Odoardo Fialetti. He primarily painted works copied from major artists and produced a vast number of drawings and engravings, especially in order to illustrate his own printed books. He was the artistic consultant of many major collectors of the time, and also acted as an artistic guide for important visitors and foreign artists.

The work is dedicated to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, and is written in the form of a dialogue between a Venetian senator – probably Giovanni Nani – and an expert painter, i.e., the author himself. The two interlocutors walk through the Venetian calli, and the 'Professor de Pitura' explains to the senator, with great competence, the style of each artwork they see on their way, all the while demonstrating the superiority of Venetian painting over its Florentine counterpart, while also comparing painting to the art of music and poetry. The 'Professor' even recalls olfactory and food suggestions in a style that is Baroque and redundant, yet simultaneously brilliant and witty. The first chapter includes a general introduction to the main painters of the seventeenth century, including, among others, Velázquez and Rubens. In the subsequent chapters Boschini guides his companion and the reader through Venetian art, starting with the San Rocco School painted by Tintoretto. Of particular interest is the detailed information concerning the private collections of the time, including that amassed by Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici, who was one of Boschini's primary 'customers'. The final chapter contains a modern gallery of painters; rather than a traditional portrait, each artist is represented here by a significant painting which has been reproduced. The text is supplemented with notes by the 'Academico Delfico', i.e., Dario Varotari.

Michel I, p. 197; Cicogna 4672; Cicognara 976; Gamba, Serie degli scritti impressi in dialetto veneziano, p. 137; Libreria Vinciana 3066; J. Schlosser Magnino, La letteratura artistica, Firenze 1967, pp. 547-548, 561; M. F. Merling, Marco Boschini's “La carta del navegar pitoresco”. Art Theory and Virtuoso Culture in Seventeenth-Century Venice, Ph.D. Diss., Brown University, 1992; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 207.

$ 6.500
Info