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Bembo, Pietro (1470-1547)

Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo Venice, Alessandro Paganini, April 1515

€ 4.500
Bembo, Pietro (1470-1547). Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo. Venice, Alessandro Paganini, April 1515

24° (102x50 mm). Collation: A-P8, Q8. CXXVI, [2] leaves (numbered in the lower margin). Italic type. Blank space for capital on fol. A4. Near contemporary Venetian brown morocco, over pasteboards. Covers richly gilt tooled, within border of fillets and friezes. Floral cornerpieces, at the centre fleuron in knotwork pattern. Traces of ties. Spine with three small raised bands, decorated with fillets and small tools. Gilt edges. Covers abraded in places, minor wears to corners and headcaps. In a brown half-morocco case, with title lettered in gilt. A good copy, restored the first three leaves, with loss of a few letters. Pale waterstain to the blank lower margin.

An extremely rare edition, finely printed by Alessandro Paganini in his innovative and compact 'long 24mo' format, of the celebrated dialogue Asolani by the Venetian patrician and humanist Pietro Bembo, written between 1497 and 1504. The work had first been published in March 1505 by Aldo Manuzio, and Paganini immediately re-issued it after the Aldine ten-year privilege had ended. His new edition closely follows the text of 1505.

In April 1515, the Asolani – along with the Rime by Francesco Petrarca and the Arcadia by Iacopo Sannazaro – inaugurated Paganini's celebrated 24°-format series of literary masterpieces in Italian vernacular, which never failed to attract the attention of collectors and bibliophiles. Dante's Commedia followed in 1516, standing as an exemplary achievement of Paganini 'vernacular library'.

The 1515 edition is dedicated – like the Aldine edition of 1505 – to Lucrezia Borgia, and Paganini added his own dedication to Bembo. It is recorded in only four Italian institutional libraries.

STC Italian 80; Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538), no. 20; R. Sturel. “Recherches sur une collection in -32 publié en Italie au début du XVie siècle”, Revue des Livres anciens, 1 (1913), pp. 50-73; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 60.