November 22, 2009
FIRST EDITION, SPLENDID OPENING ILLUMINATION; COPY BELONGING TO LUCIEN BONAPARTE
THE EARLIEST PRINTED ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF DANTE
BRUNUS ARETINUS, Leonardus (1369-1444). Historiae florentini populi, in Italian. Translated from the Latin by Donatus Acciaiuolus. Venice: Jacobus Rubeus, 12 February 1476. FIRST EDITION. Folio. (320 x 230 mm). Collation: a-k10 kk6 l-p10 q12 r-x10 (a1 blank, a2r translator’s prologue, a2v author’s prologue, a3v text, x10r colophon, x10v blank). 218 leaves (inc. first blank). 41 lines. Type 1:110R; Colophon: FINE Delduodecimo & ultimo libro della historia del Popolo Fiorentino composta da Messer Lionardo aretino in latino:Et tradocta īlingua tosca da Donato Acciaioli a di.xxvii.dagosto:Mcccclxxiii. Impresso a Vinegia perlo diligente huomo Maestro Iacomo de Rossi di natione Gallo:Nellanno del Mcccclxxvi.a di xii.di Febraio:Regnante lo inclyto Principe Messer Piero Mozenico. Opening initial M finely illuminated by a contemporary Florentine artist in gold leaf on blue, pink and green ground with white penwork infill, extensive white-vine decoration on blue, pink and green ground flanking a central painted armorial shield (rubbed). 19th century vellum over boards, gilt turn-ins, front board detached, spine detached. COMPLETE, WIDE-MARGINED AND TALL COPY; dampstaining throughout and stains, two pages with old repairs, colophon leaf mounted. HC1562; BMC V, Proctor 4242; Goff B-1247. PROVENANCE: Lucien Bonaparte, Prince Français, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano (21 May 1775 – 29 June 1840), born Luciano Buonaparte, the third surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino. and the younger brother of Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte; Evidently presented by Guilliame Libri, the notorious 19th century book thief who removed items from many Continental libraries; French, Asa Palmer (1860-1935) U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, 1906-14.; Maggs Bros Cat. #330; 1914. [$28,000]
“Leonardo Bruni’s most notable work is History of the Florentine People, which has been called the first modern history book. Bruni was the first historian to write about the three period view of history: Antiquity, Middle Age, and Modern, a concept from which the term Middle Age was coined by a contemporary Flavio Biondo. The dates Bruni used to define the periods are not exactly what modern historians use today, but he laid the conceptual groundwork for a tripartite division of history. While it probably was not Bruni’s intention to secularize history, the three period view of history is unquestionably secular and for that Bruni has been called the first modern historian. The foundation of Bruni’s conception can be found with Petrarch who had first written, a generation earlier, about a “Dark Age” covering the period from the time of the fall of Rome extending to the time of Petrarch. Bruni and his fellow humanists believed they had reached the end of the Dark Age and were entering a modern period and thus logically called the intervening period a Middle Age.” [Ref: Wikipedia] Included in the chronicle is the earliest printed account of the life of Dante. The printer, Jacobus Rubeus, was a friend of Nicolas Jenson, the famed typographer, and the type employed here model Jensonian typefaces.