Cento favole morali de i piu illustri antichi & moderni autori Greci, & Latini. Venice: Giordano Ziletti, 1570.

VERDIZOTTI Giovanni Mario (1570)



Title within fine architectural woodcut border, woodcut of an astrologer on verso of A6, and 101 full page woodcuts (135 x 100mm) of fables, woodcut initials and ornaments, lined in red. 

4to (200 x 140mm). [8], 301, [9]pp. Nineteenth-century red morocco, panelled in blind and gilt, with two sets of floral cornerpieces, spine with five raised bands, gilt in compartments, inside gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers. 

Venice, Giordano Ziletti,

First edition of Giovanni Verdizotti’s extremely popular and much-reprinted collection of rhyming fables, with a proliferation of superb woodcuts; according to Ziletti’s address to the reader they were designed by Verdizotti himself, who drew them directly on to the block for the cutter - ‘disegnate del legno di sua propria mano’.

Ziletti explains in his address that Verdizotti was influenced by Gabriello Faerno’s Fabulae centum of 1563; indeed, the first fable here, of the father, son and the donkey was Faerno’s hundredth. Mortimer explains, “The Faerno engravings are said to be after Titian, and some of Verdizotti’s designs are also attributed to Titian. Verdizotti, as Titian’s friend and pupil, could have seen the Faerno series in preparation. Of the hundred fables, thirty-seven of Faerno’s subjects are not in Verdizotti. …less than half of Verdizotti’s woodcuts bear any resemblance to the Faerno engravings. Where there are any similarities, the position of an animal may be the same but the background obviously different, as though varied intentionally. It is not known whether the attribution to Titian rests on these small resemblances or on Verdizotti’s association with the artist”. The pastoral backgrounds in these woodcuts have been thought to provide a clue to the nature of Verdizotti’s other work, little of which now survives.

Beyond these woodcuts and a signed ink drawing Verdizotti has left little trace, though he was praised by contemporaries including Vasari, Ridolfi and Dolci (Met, ‘Cento Favole Morale’). Born in Venice between 1525 and 1530 and describing himself as a churchman, he is thought to have acted as Titian’s secretary after the death of Aretino; several of Titian’s surviving letters have been identified as being in Verdizotti’s hand (Tietze-Conrat, 117-123).

Title page expertly tipped in, discreet repairs to gutter of leaves of first quire and last few leaves, browning, sporadic staining, mostly fingermarks.

CNCE 41209. Mortimer, Italian, no. 523. Brunet V, 1130-31. Adams V401. Metropolitan Museum website, ‘Cento Favole Morali (100 moral fables)’ (open access). E. Tietze-Conrat, ’Titian as a Letter Writer’, The Art Bulletin, 26.2 (1944), pp. 117-123.

Stock Code: 239699

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