[Florence: No place no printer], 1569.
Oblong album: 25.8 x 20 cm. 50 plates, numbered 1 to 50 in the plate, comprising an etched title page and 49 etched views. Complete.
A rare, complete suite of Dosio’s important views of Roman monuments. A very good set, bound in modern blind-ruled calf, with minor blemishes: Two plates (27 and 34) slightly shaved at fore-margin, four plates (38-41) with light damp-stain just entering the printed area, some other plates with staining in the upper margin, not affecting the engravings, small (1.5 cm.) tear in one plate, no loss. Short descriptions in Latin are etched into each of the plates, as captions to the views of the monuments.
One of the earliest collection of engraved views of Roman monuments, Dosio’s views provide an excellent record of the buildings of ancient Rome in their Renaissance settings. His detailed drawings were translated into etchings by the celebrated engraver Giovanni Battista Cavalieri (1530-1597). These prints are among Cavalieri’s finest work.
“One of the most important of the sixteenth-century collections of views of Rome, being free from the fantastic reconstructions so dear to the archaeologists of the period.” (Fowler)
The first engraving serves as both title page and page and dedication leaf. The dedication to Cosimo de’ Medici is set within a triumphal arch with Egyptianized caryatids and the Medici “palle”. The 49 plates show the magnificent architectural monuments of Rome, many represented within their fifteenth-century context, covered with vegetation, visited by strolling passers-by or drawn by artists. They are shown in their dilapidated grandeur and often with their medieval accretions still attached. Others, such as the Republican temples in the Forum Boarium, the Temple of Venus Genetrix, the Pantheon, the Lateran baptistery, Santa Costanza, and the Baths of Diocletian, are shown architectonically, “con intento puramente descrittivo e documentario” in order to show their structural character.
“Born in San Gimignano in 1533, Giovanni Antonio Dosio moved to Rome in 1548. He assisted in the excavations of SS. Cosma and Damiano in the Forum Romanum, where he uncovered the 3rd century Marble Plan (Forma Urbis Romae). In 1569 he published his “Urbis Romae Aedificiorum illustrium quae supersunt Reliquiae”. Beginning in 1560, in preparation for this work, Dosio made more than 110 drawings of ancient sculpture, architectonic studies, and views of monuments. 28 of these have survived, of which 14 are in the Kupferstich-kabinett in Berlin; the other 14 are in the Uffizi…
“Dosio’s drawings distinguish themselves from others not only because they constitute a documentary record of the iconography of ancient Rome, but also because they possess something of a poetic spirit that elevates them to the level of true art… They have the same power of expression and the same expressive ‘color’ of the great paintings of the period. (Lukomski, Architettura Classica, p. 412-415).
Cicognara 3704; Brunet I, 1697; Fowler 107; Adams D, 861; Berlin Kat. 1846.