Rome: Domenico De Rossi, 1691.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Large Folio. Very Good. Item #002961
Large folio (433 x 327 mm). Fine engraved frontispiece, bound after engraved title, and 57 sheets (numbered 3-59 in the plate), comprising 14 engraved text explanations, 1 engraved index, and 42 anatomical tables engraved by François Andriot after Charles Errard. Bound in restored full vellum with gilt-lettered leather spine label, new front endpapers. Occasional dust- and finger-soiling, paper repair to gutter and fore-margin of title-leaf and to blank margins of several sheets (all not affecting text or image), ink smudge to plate 33, minor browning and spotting in places. Provenance: From a Italian private collection (inscription at foot of title shaved and illegible, also inscription on frontispiece). This copy has an official Italian export license. ----
Norman 888; Choulant-Frank, pp. 254-55; Garrison-Morton 386; Heirs of Hippocrates 531; NLM/Krivatsy 4655 (variant issue of title-page with "libro primo" on title as the Norman copy); Sappol, Dream Anatomy, p. 134; Waller 5540; Wellcome III, pp. 102-03; Cazort, Kornell, Roberts, The Ingenious Machine of Nature: Four Centuries of Art and Anatomy, 1996, p.217. - FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE FINEST ANATOMY BOOKS FOR ARTISTS, here in the rare variant with 58 plates instead of 55 and without the indication of "libro primo" on the title page. The last sixteen plates fulfill the promise of the sub-title by showing heavily muscularised versions of recognisable antique statues in Rome, the Farnese Hercules, the Laocöon (without his sons), the Gladiator, and the Borghese Faun, all seen from various viewpoints. The sub-title also establishes that the book was intended to benefit students of painting and sculpture at the French Academy at Rome. The plates were probably engraved by François Andriot after Charles Errard, head of the Academy, while Genga made the anatomical preparations. The text, occupying a total of 16 plates, is by Giovanni Maria Lancisi. "The most outstanding feature [of the book] is the presentation of a series of plates of famous antique statues 'considered anatomically.' Presented as if flayed and in several views are the Farnes Hercules (plates 24-26), the central figure from the Laocoon group (plates 27-29), the Borghese Gladiator (plates 30-35), and variations on a figure identified with the Borghese Faun (plates 36-39), now in the Louvre and also known as Silenus with the Infant Bacchus" (Cazort, Kornell, Roberts, p.217). This work was originated by the French artist, Charles Errard (ca 1606-89), a court painter to Louis XIV, who helped found the Academie Royale de Peinture, and was the first director of the French Academy in Rome. Errard drew the famous frontispiece depicting emaciated corpses in a roundel, surrounding which are three skeletons, and probably also drew some or all of the plates of classical statuary. However, he left the project unfinished. Genga, who was teaching anatomy to artists at the French Academy, took up Errard's unfinished project, and completed the dissections. The papal physician Giovanni Maria Lancisi (1654-1720) wrote the explanations for the plates and supplied the index. The plates were probably engraved by the Parisian engraver Francois Andriot (or Handeriot) (d. 1704). Thus, even though the book was as much a French project as Italian, and Genga was responsible for only a relatively small portion, the work was published under Genga's name the year after Genga's death. "This large atlas contains forty magnificent full-page engraved plates depicting the human figure in various poses, with and without dissection . . . The plates, probably engraved by Francois Andriot after designs by Charles Errard, were intended primarily for the use of painters and sculptors, and they are still considered to be one of the best collections for the use of student artists." (Heirs of Hippocrates). - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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