Venice: Batholomaeus Pelusius, Gabriel Bracius, Joannes Bissolus, Benedictus Mangius, 1498. Complete edition. A complete collection of Ficino's De Treplici Vita, comprising three books of medical advice to scholars. Small quarto. a-z4, & 4 reversed "c" 4: complete. Roman type. Early blind tooled calf with some restoration and some minor surface chips. A pleasing, clean, intact example. Capital spaces with guideline letters in place. Few early marginal notes in a secretary hand and underlining in a 16th-17th century ink. Early ink titling along fore-edge mostly faded, with bolder titling to bottom edge. Second to last blank with small closed tears and one clean cut approximately three inches, excising upper corner at a shallow angle. Minor worming, mostly to preliminary and terminal leaves; occasional inoffensive soiling and marginal dampstaining throughout (but largely concentrated to outer margins of first 10 leaves and to inner margins) with text unaffected. Light stain to first blank along with early ownership signature. Contents tight and text bright. A pleasing, complete copy.
Synthesizing elements from various philosophical, religious, and literary traditions, Marsiglio Ficino became one of the most famous figures of the Italian Renaissance. Despite his close ties with the Catholic Church and its teachings, Ficino was deeply interested in the work of Greek philosophers Plato and Plotinus; and in his later career, it was his exegesis of the latter that drew him to write the De Triplici Vita: a three part work On Healthy Life, On Long Life, and On Obtaining Life from the Heavens. "Of the three books of De Vita, the third proved most controversial, dealing as it did in places with seemingly heretical themes, including potentially idolatrous 'statue animation'...Ficino came close enough to theological unacceptability" that it risked his position of favor in the Papal Court (Stanford). In his own time, Ficino "provided Western European thinkers with authoritative versions of Plato, Plotinus, and other Platonizing thinkers, with his Latin translations of those texts becoming the standard for over three centuries" (Stanford). But as the new science took hold in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, works such as De Triplici Vita declined in popularity due to their "semi-mythical ancient sages, hidden natural sympathies, and interpretive style of philosophizing" (Stanford).
Goff F-161. Hain II, 7066. BMC III, 759. BMC III, 41. Walsh 2738, 2739. (Item #4517)