"The most complete treatise on the art theory, design, and iconography of the Mannerist period"

Lomazzo, Giovanni Paolo. Trattato dell'arte de la pittura, di Gio. Paolo Lomazzo milanese pittore. Diviso in sette libri. Ne' quali si contiene tutta la theorica, & la prattica d'essa pittura.

Milano, Paolo Gottardo Da Ponte, 1584.

4to. (40), 700 (but: 698), (2) pp. With armorial title woodcut and half-page woodcut portrait on fol. B1. Contemporary full vellum with marbled edges.


Second edition, the earliest one obtainable and usually considered the first altogether (a single copy of an edition published by Da Ponte in 1582 has been discovered in the Biblioteca della Collegiata S. Pietro Apostolo in Broni near Pavia). The principal work of the Milan artist and theoretician of art, Giampaolo Lomazzo, has been called "the most complete treatise on the art theory, design, and iconography of the Mannerist period" (Arntzen/R.); indeed, "the true Bible of Mannerism" (cf. Schlosser). Purposefully divided into the mystical number of seven books, Lomazzo's treatise describes first proportions (with a discussion of Dürer, who was much-received in Italy), then the expression of feelings, colours, light and shade, linear perspective, and practical painting; the seventh and final book treats matter and substances, touching upon - and greatly expanding on - Armenini. "These last two chapters are of the greatest importance for understanding the essence of Mannerism, providing quite simply one of the most extensive accounts" (ibid.).

Some occasional browning and waterstaining near beginning; slight paper flaw to fol. E3 (not affecting legibility). Numerous errors in pagination; quire Y jumbled but complete. A small perforation to the spine; textblock curled. Old ownership on front flyleaf obliterated in ink. A single copy in German auction records.

Edit 16, CNCE 24452 (Var. A). Adams L 1419. BM-STC Italian 391. Cicognara 159. Schlosser 352 Arntzen/Rainwater H 43. Kat. der Ornamentstichslg. Berlin 4612. Chamberlin 2015. Bibl. Trivulziana 261. Cf. Haym, Libri rari 265; Fowler 185 (1585 ed.).

Art.-Nr.: BN#47194 Schlagwörter: ,