Paris: Appresso Giacomo Langlois, 1651. First Edition. First edition (not to be confused with the French edition which published later the same year, the Italian edition being much more rare) of Leonardo’s “Treatise of Painting,” the most important treatise on art to be written during the Renaissance. Two parts in one folio volume (390 x 270 mm.), collating , 112, , [1, blank], [11, index], [3, blank]; , 62, [2, blank] pp.: complete. With blank leaves R4 and h4. Pages 59-62 in the first part misnumbered 61-64. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Leonardo in the first part, engraved portrait of Alberti in the second part, engraved title vignette, seventy-three engraved illustrations and diagrams in the text (nineteen of which are after Poussin and others by Pierfrancesco Alberti), and numerous engraved head- and tail-pieces and initials. Overall a lovely copy.
It should be noted that on a few occasions this present copy has the engraved head and tail piece vignettes slightly different than other copies we have seen. Tailpiece vignette on pages 57 and 58 are switched, page 68 uses a different tailpieces which can be found repeated on the bottom of leaf é3 verso, and page 74 has a tailpiece vignette where other copies have none, this vignette is the same as found on pate 47 of the Alberti portion. Leaf é4 recto has a headpiece which is different. And finally on page 4 of the Alberti part, the illustrations of shapes may be in an earlier state as there is no writing on the diagram.
Full contemporary vellum, double ruled in gilt. Spine ruled and lettered and decorated in gilt. All edges gilt. Remnants of previous owner's bookplate on front pastedown. A bit of creasing and mild browning to vellum edges. Fore-edge of first two leaves a bit creased and frayed. The next two leaves (including the title-page) with some minor browning to fore-edge. Generally very clean inside. pages 17-24 in second part a bit toned. Overall a very good copy.
Alberti’s treatise on statues also appears here for the first time in print.
First edition of Leonardo's first published work, which appeared 132 years after his death. The treatise was drawn together from his copious notes by his pupil Francesco Melzi. A manuscript copy made for Freart de Chanteloup, illustrated by Nicolas Poussin, formed the basis for this edition. "Leonardo's most important literary contribution was his approach to painting as a natural science, grounded in geometry and direct observation of natural phenomena. Through the Trattato della Pittura . . . Leonardo's ideas formed the core of academic artistic instruction for three centuries in many institutional settings" (OCIL).
Belt 1. Brunet V, col. 1257. Graesse VII, p. 327. STC French, 1601-1700, p. 554. (Item #2178)