Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo. Filippo PISTRUCCI.
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo
Model Book with 241 Etchings in Original Spectacular Hand-Color
Milan, Paolo Antonio Tosi e Comp. 1819 and 1821.

Iconologia ovvero Immagini di tutte le cose principali a cui l’umano talento ha finto un corpo.

Folio [33.3 cm x 23.5 cm], 2 volumes, (vol. I) XII pp. (half-title, title, “Ai lettori”), 240 pp., with (1) full-page etched frontispiece in original hand-color and interleaved with 120 full-page etchings in original hand-color (some with highlights in gold), (2) ff. (index); (Vol. II) (2) ff. (title and subscriber list), 240 pp., (2) ff. (index), with 120 full-page etchings in original hand-color, numbered 121-240 (with a few plates misnumbered). Quarter bound in contemporary green morocco with vellum tips and green marbled paper, gold-tooled spine, gold-tooled fillet at junction of morocco and marbled paper. Some rubbing and edge wear to spine and boards with some chipping of the marbled paper. Leaves uncut, the occasional generally marginal stain, color still wonderfully fresh and vibrant.

Rare first edition of this magnificently illustrated iconological model book for artists and scholars, published by an intimate of the Rossetti family, Filippo Pistrucci. Pistrucci sought to adapt Cesare Ripa’s 16th-century Iconologia for the modern artist, notably incorporating the use of standardized color. His designs are positively known to have inspired several of the paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who owned a copy of the work.

Pistrucci, an artist and engraver by profession, prefaces his work by tracing the use of iconology from ancient times to the contemporary work of the sculptor Canova, also referring to literary examples such as ‘Hunger’ in Vergil and ‘Death’ in Milton. Pistrucci’s magnum opus, issued in two volumes, contains 240 entries on symbolic concepts, with each verbal description illustrated by a corresponding full-page etching finished in fine original hand-color. The designs, although based on Ripa’s originals, show much of Pistrucci’s own invention, covering subjects ranging from ‘Adultery’ to ‘Utility.’ As Pistrucci notes in his preface, precise indications of coloring (e.g., that a particular shade of green said to represent envy) are a significant component in the written descriptions of this and previous iconological works, but Pistrucci is unique in having produced a painstaking visual record with standardized edition coloring: “this advantage is lacking in all other editions of the Iconologia so far published” (I, xi).

Filippo Pistrucci (1777-1857) fled Milan shortly after the publication of the present work due to his seditious political activities in what was then an Austrian-ruled province. He thus arrived in London at around the same time as his compatriot and fellow refugee, the scholar Gabriele Rossetti, father of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and he soon became a close friend of that family. As several modern commentators have noted, Pistrucci’s Iconologia, which shares much with the designs of Flaxman, Blake, and Fuseli, had a direct influence on the richly allegorical style of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s paintings, which often incorporate almost Renaissance symbolism into details surrounding the main subject, not to mention the dress and composure of the subject him/herself. According to Alicia Faxon,

“the literary influences on Rossetti’s early years have been studied in detail, but his artistic beginnings have not been similarly investigated… [A] role model may have been Filippo Pistrucci, a family friend described by [Rossetti’s brother] William as “the man of most natural kindness of heart that I ever knew.” Pistrucci did a miniature portrait of Dante Gabriel in 1834 and two later portraits as well. It must have been a compelling experience for a six-year-old child to sit still for so long and then see his own features and bright auburn hair so accurately replicated… [Pistrucci’s] iconology with brightly colored plates was in Gabriele’s library and may have influenced Rossetti’s later paintings.” (p. 33).

William Rossetti notes on several occasions his brother’s use of the Iconologia (Family Letters I, p. 62; Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Designer and Writer, pp. 6-7), and paintings such as the Blessed Damozel have been clearly identified with icons in Pistrucci’s work by e.g., D. H. R. Bentley (1976) and Sarah Phelps Smith (1995).

Here iconological entries are in Italian with French translations by Marçeau on the versos. A notable attempt by Pistrucci to bring out an English translation of his Iconologia unfortunately ended in failure, probably bankrupting the author in the process. “The project folded up after two issues (1824) with 24 coloured plates and accompanying text. These are nowadays such absolute rarities that even the great Mario Praz during a long life of active research was unable to locate a single actual copy and, much as he disliked doing so, was reduced to quoting from a catalogue.” (Zimmermann). We have traced a sole copy of this work in the British Library.

OCLC locates U.S. examples at the NYPL, Duke, Penn State, Boston Public Library, Getty, and the National Gallery.

* Praz, p. 457; cf Zimmermann, Hans-Joachim, “English Translations and Adaptations of Cesare Ripa's Iconologia:From the 17th to the 19th Century” De zeventiende eeuw Issue 11 (1995); Bentley, D. M. R., “Rossetti's ‘Bride Chamber Talk’” Wascana Review 11.2 (1976), p. 87; Faxon, Alicia Craig. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1989), pp. 33 & 193; Smith, Sarah Phelps. “From Allegory to Symbol: Rossetti's Renaissance Roots and his Influence on Continental Symbolism” in Pre–Raphaelite Art in its European Context (1995), p. 64.

Price: $7,850.00

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