Folio [31 x 20.5 cm], (12), CX ff., with elaborate woodcut title printed in red and black, historiated initials and 136 woodcuts in text. Bound in early manuscript leaf over boards with traces of paper title label, head and tail of spine chipped, some loss at corners. Endpapers renewed. Long 19th-century annotation on f. iv verso. Even toning and occasional fingersoiling; minute worming in blank margins of a few early leaves; generally a fresh and crisp copy, with good strikes of the cuts, excellent.
Second Durantino edition of the first illustrated edition of Vitruvius (original 1511) and the first attempt to establish a critical text of the only surviving ancient architectural treatise, notoriously difficult for its technical matter and crabbed means of expression. The first Durantino edition of 1524 was only the second edition in Italian, preceded by the Como Vitruvius of 1521; although Fowler claims that the text was based on Cesariano’s 1521 edition, Mortimer disagrees, claiming that the text is closer to the Latin of Fra Giocondo, and that the rendering of Vitruvian technical terms—the litmus test for any translation of Vitruvius—departs considerably from the Como edition. It is of interest that this edition originated with a practicing architect, Fra Giovanni Giocondo, equally at home in the practice of building as in the finer points of humanist philology. (See above.) The influence of both the text and the 136 illustrations could be felt throughout the 16th century (see Mortimer’s entry for nachleben).
According to Mortimer, this edition utilizes the plates of the first Durantino edition of 1524. Its 136 woodcuts “are close copies of the full set of blocks from the Giocondo edition of 1511 printed at Venice by Giovanni Tacuino. The copies were made for the first Durantino edition (Venice, 1524)... Zoppino secured all of the 1524 blocks except one; that on leaf N1r is a recutting with the heads of the figures strangely enlarged” (Mortimer). The layout of illustration and text closely follows Tacuino’s 1511 Latin edition.
* Mortimer 545; Cicognara 705; Fowler 399; Brunet V.1330; Riccardi I.2.612, Suppl. 4.207-208; Adams V-916; Berlin Katalog 1804.