Rome: Jo. Francisci Buagni, 1694.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Large Folio. Near Fine. Item #003336
Large folio (415 x 312 mm). , 1-169, 173-205, 205-213, 221-245, 249-343, 343-489 ,  pp. Letterpress titles in Latin and Italian, text in parallel columns in Latin and Italian, 79 engraved plates and plans (11 folding, 78 with pagination) by Alessandro Specchi after Carlo Fontana. Bound in contemporary full vellum, spine with 6 raised bands and gilt-lettered red morocco label (vellum soiled, extremities rubbed, slight bumping and wear to corners), red and black sprinkled edges, pastedowns with elaborate 18th century Dutch brokade paper, printed in gold with pattern relief in colours through stencil. Few pages little browned, brown stain to lower corner of some gatherings, but generally very bright, crisp and clean. Provenance: Thomas Brand, Esq. (armorial bookplate to front-pastedown). A very fine copy. ----
FIRST EDITION of this lavish book about the buildings of the Vatican. This impressive production was commissioned by the Sacred Congregation for the Fabric of St Peter's, to justify the expense of rebuilding the church. It is presented by Fontana in seven parts: (1) Cose piu notabile della potenza Romana (on the historic importance of St Peter's - here a plate is included showing overlapping plans of the old and new churches and Nero's Circus), (2) Antica basilica (i.e. the Constantinian basilica - with a plate based on Alfarano's plan and inventory), (3) Trasporto dell'obelisco (on Domenico Fontana's moving of the obelisk, with new illustrations of residential areas), (4) Portici, piazze (proposals for the enlargement of Piazza San Pietro and for a new piazza behind the apse), (5) Tempio Vaticano (affirming the safety of the dome, and describing the appearance of all parts of the church), (6) Spese (the costs of construction - St Peter's being declared costlier than the temple of Solomon) and (7) Pantheon & altri tempii (stressing the height of the church, compared particularly with the cathedral of Florence). This is followed by a comprehensive Index. The plates show plans, elevations and sections of St Peter's and of the piazza.The pagination of this work is a bit complicated. The number of initial unnumbered pages varies in different copies - variously described by cataloguers as 24, 30, 32 or 36. In some copies the Italian title page precedes the Latin one; and some copies have bound in a folded sheet carrying a portrait of Fontana - captioned 'Eques Carolus Fontana Ann. LIII' and signed 'R. V. Auden aert Gand. ad Vivum del et sculp.' - and a two-page tribute to him from Giuseppe Ghezzi, Secretary of the Academy of St Luke (of which Fontana was President from 1693 to 1699). The 79 plates are inserted throughout the text pages and are numbered continuously with them (each plate having a page number on its recto, its verso being blank and unnumbered). There are occasional inaccuracies in this sequence, as follows: between pl. 169 and pl. 173 there is neither a pl.171 nor pages 171-2; between pp.204 and 207 there are two plates both numbered 205; between pl.213 and pl.221 there are no plates 215, 217 and 219 nor pages 215-220; between pl.245 and page 249 there is no pl.247 nor pages 247-8; and between pages 342 and 343 there is also a plate numbered 343. As well as providing the Italian text (printed with Bonnerve's parallel Latin translation), Fontana also drew all the plates (all signed by him as draughtsman and by Alessandro Specchi as engraver). Most plates for Book III are copied from Domenico Fontana's Della trasportatione dell'obelisco (1590). (see: RA 03/2576). - Visit our website to see more images!
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