Rome: Domenico Basa, 1590.
1st Edition. Soft cover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #003143
Folio (417 x 287 mm). , 108 (i.e. 112),  ff., including engraved title, additional engraved title with portrait of Fontana, woodcut initials, and 38 full-page etched and engraved illustrations by Natali Bonifazio da Sebenico (including 3 double-page), 3 diagrams in text. Occasional spotting, finger soiling, browning and marginal damp staining, engraved title creased and backed with tissue paper. 18th-century half vellum over cardboards, spine lettered in manuscript (extremities worn and chipped). Bound in after f. 108 is a sheet with two engraved plates, titled within the plate "Pianta del catafalco [graphic] / eques Dominicus Fontana architets invent.; Hieronimus Rainaldus Romanus" and dated 1591.* Provenance: from a private collection in Montpellier, France. Very good copy, collated complete. ----
Brunet II:1329; Cicognara 3736; Dibner, Heralds of Science 174; Fowler 124; Millard Coll. 40; Mortimer, Italian 193; Norman 812; Olschki 16955. - FIRST EDITION, RECORDING AND ILLUSTRATING ONE OF THE GREAT ENGINEERING FEATS OF THE RENAISSANCE. Fontana organized and directed this successful attempt to move the Vatican obelisk. Over 900 men, 150 horses and 47 cranes were required, and the project took four and a half months to complete (from 30 April to 10 September 1586). The plates "are important examples in the development of architectural drawing" (Fowler), and are considered by Olschki to be "remarquables au point de vue artistique autant que technique." Some plates towards the end illustrate the buildings designed by Fontana for Sixtus V.
"Besides its great graphic virtues, then, this book by Fontana is an important source for the history of architecture. It is differentiated from contemporary theoretical publications by its dominant technical and pragmatic approach to architectural problems, and specifically by its interest in the organization of the construction site, its vast vision, and its research in architectural typology" (Millard).
*The two engravings by Girolamo Rainaldi (1570-1655) after the design of Domenico Fontana appear here in their first state before they were published with leaf numbers in Baldo Catani's La pompa funerale (1591) (See, Mortimer, p. 281). The engraving on the left depicts the floorplan of the catafalque and monument for Pope Sixtus V, and the engraving on the right depicts its elevation. The left engraving has a penned note "Fatto in Sta. Maria Maggre. quando si fece la trasportane del corpo della f.m. di P.P. Sisto Quinto la pianta et l'eleuato" beneath the title (identical to the copy in Folger Library, ART Box R763 no.8). The festive reburial of POPE SIXTUS V (Felice Peretti di Montalto, 1521-1590), after his death in 1590, was the first to feature a papal catafalque. This is shown in the second plate, facing a plan of the structure. The traditional funeral ceremonies were held at St. Peters, but Sixtus V's reburial marked the beginning of the cult of relics in Counter Reformation Rome. He chose to be buried in the Sistine Chapel (named in his honor as its founder) in the S. Maria Maggiore (or Basilica Liberiana) and he wished to be portrayed in a humble position: not seated on the papal throne, but kneeling in prayer without the crown (ref. Berlin 3188; Drugulin 837; Ruggieri 742; Vinet 586). - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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