Breve racconto della trasportatione del corpo di Paolo V dalla Basilica di S. Pietro à quella di S. Maria Maggiore con l’oratione recitata nelle sue esequie. Lelio GUIDICCIONI.
Breve racconto della trasportatione del corpo di Paolo V dalla Basilica di S. Pietro à quella di S. Maria Maggiore con l’oratione recitata nelle sue esequie...
Breve racconto della trasportatione del corpo di Paolo V dalla Basilica di S. Pietro à quella di S. Maria Maggiore con l’oratione recitata nelle sue esequie...
Breve racconto della trasportatione del corpo di Paolo V dalla Basilica di S. Pietro à quella di S. Maria Maggiore con l’oratione recitata nelle sue esequie...
Breve racconto della trasportatione del corpo di Paolo V dalla Basilica di S. Pietro à quella di S. Maria Maggiore con l’oratione recitata nelle sue esequie...
The Only Detailed Visual Record of this Ephemeral Early Bernini Commission
Illustrated with 18 Engravings
[FUNERAL BOOK] / [BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo].
Rome, Eredi di Bartolomeo Zannetti, 1623.

Breve racconto della trasportatione del corpo di Paolo V dalla Basilica di S. Pietro à quella di S. Maria Maggiore con l’oratione recitata nelle sue esequie.

Folio [37.0 x 24.9 cm], 32 pp., (2) full-page engravings (one of which is folding), 16 full-page engravings, 35 pp., with engraving of Scipione Borghese’s arms on title page, woodcut initials and tailpiece. Bound in contemporary gold-tooled vellum (perhaps from the Soresini bindery in Rome), red edges. Minor edge wear, rubbing and staining to binding, small restoration to lower cover. Occasional very minor internal staining.

Rare first and only edition of this illustrated funeral book recording the ceremonies for Pope Paul V (1550-1621) held in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, with a fine suite of full-page engravings of ephemeral sculpture and architecture, including a series of 16 sculptures of Virtues by the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). The Breve racconto, which in many ways is more a work about Bernini than it is about the late pope, is the only detailed visual record of this early Bernini commission. The translation of the pope’s remains occurred a year after his death and was accompanied by an elaborate ceremony and a complex artistic program including a catafalque decorated with over-life-size allegorical figures and 20 large putti. The German engraver Theodor Crueger (d. 1625) executed the copperplates after drawings of Bernini’s statues by the renowned painter Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647).

The 80-foot-high catafalque, commissioned by Paul’s nephew Scipione Borghese (1577-1633) and designed (more as a tempietto than a pyre) by the architect Sergio Venturi, was an unusual choice for the ceremonies. Catafalques, while commonplace by the 17th century for secular rulers and even cardinals, were still almost unheard of for popes (only the catafalque of Sixtus V’s predated that of Paul V). The Breve racconto is the work of the project’s ‘regista,’ the poet and art collector Lelio Guidiccioni (c. 1570-1644), and “contains a wealth of information about the catafalque and the funeral service. It has several parts: an Italian text detailing the history of the project, the procession from the Vatican, the catafalque’s appearance and creators; a transcription of the Latin oration read at the obsequies; transcriptions of odes and epigrams which were read at the service; and a series of engravings of the monument. These images include sixteen engravings of the sculpted virtues, an engraving of two separate column capitals, and an oversized image of the entire catafalque in the nave of the church. These eighteen plates constitute the only extant visual evidence for the catafalque’s appearance” (Packard, p. 3). At the bottom left corner of the fine, folding plate of the catafalque is a portrait of Bernini himself, wearing the trappings of a Cavaliere de Christo, in conversation with Guidiccioni and others (A. L. Packard, pp. 235-6).

OCLC locates U.S. examples of the Breve racconto at the Getty, Yale, Emory, Illinois, Harvard, NYPL, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

* Cicognara 244.1429; Rossetti 2602; Watanabe-O’Kelly & Simon 823; Vinet 71.589; T.B. XXI. 591(Krueger); T.B. XXIC. 218 (Venturi); Hollstein, German, vol. VI, p. 177 (nos. 60-75 Crueger); DBI vol. 61, pp. 330-4 (Guidiccioni); A. L. Packard, The Catafalque of Paul V: Architecture, Sculpture and Iconography, Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, 2013; J. Montague, Roman Baroque Sculpture: The Industry of Art; O. Berendsen, “A Note on Bernini’s Sculptures for the Catafalque of Pope Paul V,” Marsyas (1959), pp. 67-69; Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco, Corpus delle feste a Roma, vol. 1 (La festa barocca), pp. 235-40.

Price: $22,500.00

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