Lucullianarum quaestionum libri quinque.

MARANTA Bartolomeo (1564])


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Woodcut printer's device on title page, woodcut arms of Caracciolo family on verso of title, three large woodcut initials.

Sm. folio (300 x 195mm). 431, [1]pp. [13]ff. Seventeenth-century vellum over pasteboard, yapp edges, upper and lower covers with fillet, corner ornaments and central lozenge of foliate ornament in gilt, spine gilt in compartments, gilt ornament, with title in manuscript in second compartment, green edges (lacking ties, minor scuffs and staining to vellum).

Basel, Johannes Oporinus, [March 

Sole edition, and an early school prize copy, of Bartolomeo Maranta’s (1500-1571) commentary on the poetic quality of Virgil's Aeneid, his 'magnum opus in the field of literary criticism' (Freedman, 10). It is dedicated to Antonio Caracciolo, with the Caracciolo family arms printed in woodcut on the verso of the title page; they were patrons of his father, Roberto, a lawyer and Neo-Latin poet (1476-1539). 

Better known as a botanist and physician, and trained in both law and medicine, Maranta also wrote and theorised upon artistic and literary subjects, in which area the present work is his best-known. ‘On 20 April 1561, Maranta informed [Ulisse] Aldrovandi that he had been delighting in writing a book on Virgil for the past three months: he had already finished four parts and would complete the fifth in twenty days. He had embarked on this enterprise because law and medicine did not reveal the world to him in the same way as did poetry....Maranta was inspired by the publication of Virgil's poetry in two volumes by the lawyer Nicolò Erythreo in 1555-56' (Freedman, 8). 

Provenance: 1. Prize inscription dated 1612 on verso of front free endpaper, recording that this book was an award made to student Joannes Veldius by his tutor Arnoldus Gerhard, for surpassing his fellow students in his erudition and writing skills. 

Title page strengthened at margin, visible on verso, repaired tear to head of Ll5, very faint waterstains at head throughout, though faint in second portion of work. 

VD16 M868. BMSTC (German), p593. L. Freedman, 'Bartolomeo Maranta's 'Discourse' on Titian's Annunciation in Naples: Introduction', Journal of Art Historiography 13 (2015), 1-48. 

[OCLC: US: Stanford, Folger. UK: Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford].

Stock Code: 246096

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