Scamozzi, Vincenzo

Dell’idea della architettura universale … novamente stampato, ed in quest’ultima edizione accresciuta d’un curioso trattato del sesto ordine d’architettura.

Venezia, Girolamo Albrizzi 1714.

Reference: 15398
Price: £2,500 [convert currency]

Full Description

Large 4to. 2 vols. Engraved title leaf, (14) (including printed title leaf in red and black) + 91 + (1) + pp (95)-128 + pp 125-193 + (2) + pp 194-202 + pp 263-4 (sic) + pp 205-32 + pp 237-244 + pp 241-353 + (33)pp, (40) engraved text ills ; engraved title leaf, (10)+ pp 1-268 + pp 271-370 + (22) + (2)pp, (46) engraved text ills (pagination complete thus). Four further leaves of text and an accompanying double-page engraved plate bound in at end of volume, as described above. Early nineteenth century quarter vellum, marbled boards (the vellum corner pieces at the lower outer corners now missing, but the underlying corners of the binding not damaged). An old light stain at the blank lower margin of the printed title leaf, but a large, clean, fresh and untrimmed copy.

An early eighteenth-century reissue by the Venetian publisher Girolamo Albrizzi of the edition of Scamozzi’s Idea della Architettura Universale that had been printed in 1687, rather unexpectedly, at Piazzola, on the river Brenta in the Italian countryside north-east of Padova. A previous reissue of the 1687 Piazzola edition had been produced by Albrizzi in 1694, but the present reissue is the only one to contain a few added pages of text and an accompanying engraved plate, describing and illustrating a sixth, “heroic”, order of architecture. Scamozzi’s treatise, first published in 1615, was the last of the celebrated architectural texts of the renaissance period, and was particularly respected for its coverage of the orders of architecture, as well as attracting attention for its author’s remarks on town planning and on the design of houses and villas. By 1615 Scamozzi had only completed six of the ten or twelve sections of his book which he had originally contemplated, but in its printed form his intended numbering was retained, with the result that his first volume contains Books I-III and his second volume Books VI-VIII, without the intervening Books IV-V which were never published. Such however was the veneration in which his treatise was held that the 1687 edition, published seventy-two years later, apparently at the instigation of Marco Contarini, one of Piazzola’s leading citizens and and an active patron of music and the arts, reprinted his text in the same format and with virtually identical pagination. As the woodblocks and copper plates used for the edition of 1615 no longer existed, or were not available to the volume’s publisher, each illustration was represented by a newly engraved copy, not as carefully executed as those done for the earlier edition but reproducing every necessary detail. The Piazzola edition and its subsequent reissues are striking evidence for a continuing interest in Scamozzi’s treatise in its authentic original format as late as the second decade of the eighteenth century. Various errors in the pagination of Books I-III essentially reflect mispagination in the edition of 1615, although a few stem either from the fact that those responsible for the Piazzola edition were not familiar with the problems involved in printing a volume of this scale, or from typesetting errors by Albrizzi’s compositors. The distinguishing feature of this final reissue is the presence at the end of the volume of four added leaves of printed text and of an accompanying double-page engraved plate, all of folio dimensions. The first of these leaves is a part-title leaf reading Ricerca Curiosa d’un Novo Ordine dell’Architettura, and this is followed by three leaves of which the first two are paginated 209-212 and the final leaf is not paginated. The text is printed in two parallel columns with French and Italian text, and its author, identified as “Le C.D.S.I.” in the French language text and as “K.di.S.G” in the Italian language text, explains the background to his invention of a sixth order of architecture which he has devised and states that he has named it the heroic order (”heroique” or “eroico”). The accompanying plate illustrates the proposed order. A little research shows that the author had originally published this new order in part IX, 1713, of Albrizzi’s periodical publication Galleria di Minerva, with an accompanying dedicatory letter to Marco Corner (of the prominent Venetian aristocratic family), but the inclusion of these pages in this edition of Scamozzi’s treatise – they are called for on the volume’s title leaf – seems to be the only publication of the author’s intriguingly named “heroic” order in an architectural book as such. Fowler Cat 300. This edition not in BAL Cat, Berlin Cat or Cicognara, but there are copies in a few major specialist institutional libraries.