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Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Collection Data

Colonna, Francesco, d. 1527 (Author)
Manuzio, Aldo, 1449 or 1450-1515 (Printer)
Bordon, Benedetto, 1450-1530 (Illustrator)
Feliciano, Felice, active 15th century (Attributed name)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1499
Place: Venice
Publisher: Aldus Manutius
Edition: First edition
Library locations
Rare Book Division
Shelf locator: *KB+ 1499 (Colonna, F. Hypnerotomachia Poliphili)
Costume, Italian, 15th cent
Festivals -- Italy, 15th cent
Clothing and dress in art
Italy -- Venice
Italy -- 15th century
Language: Text in a highly stylized Italian that is a compound of Latin and Italian; it also includes Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew.
Ownership: The Bishop Butler-Lord Vernon-Sir George Holford copy. NN
Citation/reference: Incunabula short title catalogue, ic00767000; Catalogue of books printed in the XVth century now in the British Museum, V, p. 561 (IB. 24500); Essling, V. M., prince d'. Livres à figures vénitiens de la fin du XVe siècle et du commencement du XVIe, 1198; Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, 7223; Goff, F.R. Incunabula in American libraries, C-767; Hain, L. Repertorium bibliographicum, *5501; Copinger, W.A. Supplement to Hain's Repertorium bibliographicum, *5501; Praet, J. van. Catalogue des livres imprimés sur vélin qui se trouvent dans des bibliothèques tant publiques que particulières, v. iv, p. 98, no. 479; Renouard, A.A. Annales de l’imprimerie des Alde, p. 21-22
Content: The second title on leaf 5a, line 5, has SANEQVE. In two paper copies examined, as in BMC IB.24500, the last two letters appear to have been erased and AM stamped in to read: SANEQVAM. The last leaf, with errata and colophon on the recto, verso blank, is different printing from that in most paper copies.
Content: First edition. The most famous of Venetian illustrated books. Printed by Aldus at the expense of and for Leonardo Crasso, a jurisconsult of Verona who owned the copyright and secured a prolongation in 1508-9 as he "had drawn no profit from it, nor had been able to sell it owing to the wars."--Horatio F. Brown. The Venetian printing press, London, 1891. p. 58. This, the only illustrated book printed by Aldus, was on a more elaborate scale and not in the style of his own publications. Because of an acrostic formed by the first letters of the chapters, the authorship is generally credited to Francesco Colonna, a Dominican friar, who had been a teacher of rhetoric at Treviso and Padua. It has also been attributed to Felice Feliciano and others. See: Khomentovskaia, A. "Felice Feliciano da Verona comme l'auteur de l'Hypnerotomachia Poliphili," in Bibliofilia (Firenze), anno 37-38 (1935-1936).
Content: Illustrations: 170 woodcuts of various sizes: ornamental initials of three styles in two sizes, strapwork on shaded background, and plain on floral backgrounds, and three large initials--P, strapwork, -- L, floral, -- E, interlaced branches. "As regards the authorship of the wonderful illustrations the signature .b. on the third has led to their being attributed to numerous celebrated artists, but it is now fairly well recognized that celebrated artists in Italy did not concern themselves with bookwork, and that .b. is probably the signature of a woodcutter's workshop. Attempts to make a list of other books illustrated by the same hand are baffled by the dual personality which has to be dealt with. The present writer is inclined to doubt whether the same designer and the same illustrator worked together in any other book"--Dyson Perrins 139: see also Josef Poppelreuter. Der anonyme Meister des Poliphilo, Strassburg, 1904.
Content: Some authorities now attribute the design of some or all of the illustrations to Benedetto Bordon. See Armstrong, Lilian. "Benedetto Bordon, miniator, and cartography in early sixteenth-century Venice," in Imago mundi, v. 48 (1996), pages 65-92. "Although more than one artist probably designed the compositions ... several scholars have recently argued that Bordon was the principal designer for this exceptional project"--Page 70.
Content: Spencer Coll. copy printed on vellum; Roman type (Proctor 5574); 38-39 lines; Signatures: pi⁴ a-y⁸ z¹⁰ A-E⁸ F⁴.
Physical Description
Vellum (paper)
Extent: 234 leaves : illustrations ; 33 cm (fol.)
Binding, 18th century, of red morocco, gilt. Sides plain within a three-line fillet with a star in each of the four corners. Back tooled and lettered. Edges gilt. NN
Type of Resource
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b16832492
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 60e14180-8d9c-0134-e8cf-00505686a51c
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