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Olmo, Marco Antonio (fl. 16th-17th century)

Physiologia Barbae Humanae. In tres sectiones divisa, hoc est de fine illius philosophico, & medico Giovanni Battista Bellagamba, 1601.

€ 5.400
The correct eyebrow length
Olmo, Marco Antonio (fl. 16th-17th century). Physiologia Barbae Humanae. In tres sectiones divisa, hoc est de fine illius philosophico, & medico. Giovanni Battista Bellagamba, 1601.

Folio (286x198 mm). Collation: †4, ††6, A-I4, L-Y4, Z1 (singleton), Aa-Rr4, Ss2. [20], 1-72, 81-317, [1] pages. The book is complete: quire K omitted by the printer. Roman and italic type. Title-page printed in red and black with woodcut coat of arms of Pietro Aldobrandini, the dedicatee of the work. Woodcut on fol. Y1r. Contemporary limp vellum. Smooth spine, title inked vertically. Covers lightly stained, minor wear to the upper board edge of the lower cover. A very good copy, title-page slightly browned, a few stains and spots. Fol. Y1 mounted on onglet.

Provenance: the Count Arthur Dillon (d. 1893; ex-libris on the front pastedown).

Rare first edition of this curious treatise by the Paduan Marco Antonio Olmo, which provides a medical as well as philosophical point of view on the true nature of beards and hair. It is an expanded version of a pamphlet that the author had published on these topics a few years earlier: the Opinio de fine medico barbae humanae, which appeared in Modena in 1599.

The Bolognese edition of 1601 is dedicated to Pietro Aldobrandini and divided into three books. For this work, Olmo relied on sources from Antiquity, such as Crisippus and Diogenes, as well as later authorities, including Augustinus and Lactantius. The volume is illustrated with a woodcut depicting the correct proportions of the face and eyebrows necessary to not obstruct the viewing angle (fol. Y1r). The 1601 publication is recorded in only four Italian institutional libraries.

A second, enlarged edition of the work was printed in 1603 by the same Bolognese printer.

STC 17th century, 926; Bruni-Evans 3713; Krivatsy 8425; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 180.