Bruno and the revival of Lullism in the Renaissance

[Giordano Bruno]. Lull Ramón (1232-1316).

Opusculum Raymundinum De auditu Kabbalistico siue ad omnes scientias introductorium... Paris, Gilles Gorbin, 1578. (bound with:) Idem. Ars brevis illuminatis Doctoris Magistri Raymundi Lull. Quae est ad omnes scientias pauco & breui tempore assequendas introductorium & breuis via... Paris, Gilles Gorbin, 1578. (bound with:) Bruno, Giordano (1548-1600). Philoteus Iordanus Brunus Nolanus De compendiosa architectura, & complementi artis Lullij. Ad illustriss. D.D. Ioannem Morum pro serenissima Venetorum R.p. apud Christianissimum Gallorum & Polonorum regem, legatum. Paris, Gilles Gorbin, 1582.

[Giordano Bruno]. Lull Ramón (1232-1316) Opusculum Raymundinum De auditu Kabbalistico siue ad omnes scientias introductorium... Paris, Gilles Gorbin, 1578. (bound with:) Idem. Ars brevis illuminatis Doctoris Magistri Raymundi Lull. Quae est ad omnes scientias pauco & breui tempore assequendas introductorium & breuis via... Paris, Gilles Gorbin, 1578. (bound with:) Bruno, Giordano (1548-1600). Philoteus Iordanus Brunus Nolanus De compendiosa architectura, & complementi artis Lullij. Ad illustriss. D.D. Ioannem Morum pro serenissima Venetorum R.p. apud Christianissimum Gallorum & Polonorum regem, legatum. Gilles Gorbin, 1582.

Three works in one volume, 16° (113x69 mm). I. Collation: A-K8. 82 [i.e. 80, omitted leaves 63 and 66] leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Six plates hors-texte, including one folding (TABVLA GENERALIS), and one with a volvelle between fols. B4 and B5. The outer margin of one plate trimmed. Woodcut diagrams in the text. Woodcut headpiece, decorated initials. II. Collation: A-F8. [48] leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Two plates hors-texte, both folding (SECVNDA FIGVRA; TABVLA GENERALIS). Three full-page woodcuts, one on the verso of fol. B2 with volvelles. Woodcut decorated initials. III. Collation: A-E8, F4. 43 of 44 leaves, lacking fol. F4 blank. Roman and italic type. Two plates hors-texte, including one folding containing the two volvelles still uncut to be mounted on fol. B8v. Fol. B3 folded with large woodcut on the verso. Diagrams and woodcut illustrations. Woodcut head- and tailpieces, decorated initials. Eighteenth-century half-calf, brown-paper covers. Smooth spine divided into compartments by gilt fillets, title in gold on hazel-brown morocco lettering-piece (faded). Edges speckled red. A well-preserved volume, some browning and spotting. In the third edition bound, the upper margin of a few leaves slightly trimmed. The pencilled note ‘Philosoph. iv' on the rear pastedown. Some early underlining in the second edition bound. On the title-page of the third one the note 'V. Vogt p. 116', related to Johannis Vogt's Catalogus historico-criticus librorum rariorum (Hamburg 1747).

Provenance: 'Kellner' (ownership inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf); Royal Library in Berlin (old stamp in red ink on the verso of the title-page of the first edition bound; copy sold).

Fine miscellaneous volume with three rare editions, including the first edition of the De compendiosa architectura by Giordano Bruno, which offers striking evidence of the revival of Lullism in the Renaissance, as well as its lasting influence.

The volume opens with the famous De auditu Kabbalistico, which previously appeared in Venice in 1518 and 1538. Also known as the Opusculum Raymundinum, the work was traditionally attributed to the prominent thirteenth-century Catalan philosopher and theologian Lullus, but according to Paola Zambelli it was instead composed – and anonymously published – by the Ferrarese physician Pietro Mainardi, who tried to reconcile the Lullian method with Kabala.

The second Lull edition bound here is the equally rare Ars brevis, the popular compendium of his Ars magna generalis which was composed in 1308 and published for the first time in 1481.

Both works by the Doctor illuminatus had notable influence on Giordano Bruno, who had read them under the guide of his master in Naples, Teofilo da Varano. It is therefore not surprising that the unknown earliest owner had also bound in this 'Lullian' miscellany a copy of the rare De compendiosa architectura, & complementi artis Lullij, in which the philosopher from Nola offers one of the most convincing presentations of his original synthesis between the combinatoric method of the Ars Lulliana and the classical art of memory, as his use of mnemonic wheels especially testifies. The De compendiosa architectura is dedicated to the Venetian ambassador in Paris, Giovanni Moro, and is the third work printed by Bruno, after the De umbris idearum and the Cantus Circaeus. The eight woodcuts included in the edition were in all likelihood designed and cut by Bruno himself. Among them, four are based on Lull's alphabetical wheels.

Between fols. B7 and B8 the folding plate is still present in its original uncut form containing the two volvelles to be mounted (“Hi duo circulli includentur in eo circulo qui habetur folio 16.”) on Lull's alphabetical wheel on the verso of fol. B8. For other Bruno's works in this catalogue see nos. 161 and 183.

I. STC French 292; Palau 143.864; Caillet 6846; Duveen, p. 370; Rogent y Duran, no. 121. II. STC French 292; Palau, 14370-14384; Duveen, p. 370, Rogent y Duran, no. 120. III. Adams B-2953; STC French 84; Salvestrini, Bibliografia, no. 40; Sturlese, Bibliografia, no. 3; M. Gabrieli, Giordano Bruno. Corpus Iconographicum, Milano 2001, pp. 125-153; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 154.

$ 52.000
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