Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Co, 1899. First English language edition. Limited edition of 50 copies printed on Japanese vellum and signed by the publisher, of which this is number 42. Measuring 216 x 292mm. Half crushed red morocco over marbled boards, with five raised bands and gilt to spines. All edges brightly gilt. Marbled end papers. Some chipping and loss to crowns of spines; shelfwear to bottom edges of boards and corners. Textblocks square and tight. Internally clean and complete, unmarked but for a previous owner's blindstamp to the front flyleaf of each volume. Featuring 48 plates and 252 text illustrations. In all, a pleasing and uncommon edition celebrating the cultural contributions of one of the true Renaissance Men.
"There is no name more illustrious in the annals of art and science than that of Leonardo da Vinci." And yet, as Muntz notes in his preface, his own work is the first biography to attempt to reproduce, classify, and examine the breadth of da Vinci's work across these fields. To that effect, the present volumes reproduce for the first time a number of the thinker's scientific, literary, and artistic manuscripts; and it provides at the end of volume II a lengthy and detailed catalogue of his works. Yet Muntz also admits that his project is more than intellectual. It is deeply personal as well. For through the examination of da Vinci's works, he aims "to penetrate more profoundly than my predecessors into the inner life of my hero." The result is a large and beautiful work dedicated to the wide-ranging and long-lasting contributions of one of history's greatest minds. Near Fine (Item #3139)