Item #4904 Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita. Andrea Alciati.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.
Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.

Emblemata D. A. Alciati, denuo ab ipso autore recognita, ac, quæ desiderabantur, imaginibus locupletata. Accesserunt nova aliquot ab autore emblemata, suis quoque eiconibus insignita.

Lyon: Matthieu Bonhomme, 1550.

Price: $9,500.00

Tall octavo: 19 x 11.9 cm. 226, [6] p. (the last leaf blank.) Collation: A-O8, P4

THE FINAL EDITION WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY ALCIATI. Another issue bears Rouille’s printer’s device and his name in the imprint (“Lugd. apud Guliel. Rovilium. 1550").

A fine copy, lightly washed, in 19th c. red morocco, ca. 1880, signed Trautz-Bauzonnet, with gilt edges and turn-ins. Title page mildly foxed, gathering F toned. Illustrated with 211 woodcut emblems within elaborate woodcut borders. Ex Joost R. Ritman’s Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam.

Illustrated with 211 woodcut emblems “by various hands”, the majority based closely on those of Pierre Eskrich (ca. 1518- ca. 1590), who worked in the style of Bernard Salomon (1506-1561), who had provided 113 woodcuts for Jean de Tournes’ Lyon edition of 1547. Many of the four-block borders with grotesque, strap-work or architectural elements are signed PV, probably for Pierre Vase, i.e. Eskrich. The section at the end entitled "Arbores" (O3r-P1v) makes use of illustrations from Leonhard Fuchs' “De historia stirpium” (1549). See Mortimer, French 16th-cent., numbers 15 and 16. The book concludes with an "Index emblematvm in locos commvnes digestorvm".

A significant and beautiful edition of Alciati’s “Emblems” (“Emblemata” in Latin), a work that inaugurated a new literary genre and inspired writers and artists -both imitators and innovators- for more than two centuries. Although Alciati first conceived of an “emblem” as an unillustrated epigram that could serve as inspiration for an image (such as a printer’s device) but was not dependent on one, in its published incarnation the emblem assumed the now familiar tripartite form: a combination of a symbolic image (eikon, pictura, imago), an epigram (epigramma), and a “motto” (sententia), each element of which contributed to the meaning of the whole.

The book was first printed in an unauthorized edition at Augsburg in 1531. Displeased with that edition, Alciati asked Christian Wechel to produce a new, corrected edition, which featured additional poems (and new illustrations) at Paris in 1534. Alciati produced another collection, printed in 1546. Other editions and translations followed, the majority of them with new woodcuts, and with additional emblems and modifications by Alciati.

Published in the year of the author’s death, this 1550 edition by Guillaume Rouillé and Macé Bonhomme contains 211 of the 212 woodcuts to appear during Alciati’s lifetime. Landwher calls it “one of the most complete editions to date”. The publishers present this edition as “denuo ab ipso Autore recognita”, indicating Alciati’s involvement in the edition. The format follows the format of the first Rouillé-Bonhomme edition of 1548, with the poems newly arranged according to subject, under common headings. A distinctive feature of the Rouillé-Bonhomme editions is the introduction of elaborate woodcut borders that surround and even seem to incorporate the motto, image, and epigram.

“The team of Guillaume Rouille and Macé Bonhomme planned an ambitious programme of editions, including not only a French translation, but also versions in Italian and Spanish. At the same time, the total number of Alciati’s emblems had increased, integrating the 86 new emblems published in Venice in 1546 and many others. The 1550 Latin edition by Rouille is the first to have 211 emblems (the whole corpus, apart from the so‑called obscene emblem ‘Adversus naturam peccantes’ [which sowed a man defecating], illustrated, in octavos, with elaborate frames. The evolution of those editions thus reflects the historical improvement of the printing process, which attained an amazing development in Lyon.”(Araújo, How can emblem books inspire new proposals for literary tourism?)

“The publishing privilege granted to Guillaume Rouille bookseller, and to Macé Bonhomme, printer in 1548, not only empowered them ‘to print a little book entitled the Emblems of Alciati, which they have caused to be prepared and set in order by General Titles, and common places, for the more easy understanding of the same, and to adopt new figures for the emblems, which hitherto had not been done by them nor designed,’ but also mentioned expressly, ‘several new emblems which they have reset of the said author that had not been printed, digested in their order and adorned with figures.’

“When Rouille and Bonhomme thus collected into a volume the previous editions, in which the emblems together amounted to 201, they omitted a single emblem because of its grossness, and the new emblems, amounting to 11, made up the whole number to 211 emblems.”(Green, Andrea Alciati and his books of emblems; a biographical and bibliographical study, p. 46)

The Development of the Emblem Book:

On 9 December 1522, Alciati wrote to the publisher Francesco Calvo:

“In compliance with the wishes of the illustrious Ambrogio Visconti, I have, at this Saturnalia, composed a book of epigrams, to which I have given the title ‘Emblemata’; for I give in each separate epigram a description of something, such that it signifies something pleasant taken from history or from nature, after which painters, goldsmiths, and founders can fashion objects which we call badges (imprese) and which we fasten on our hats, or else bear as trade-marks, such as the anchor of Aldus, the dove of Froben, and the elephant of Calvo, which carries its young for so long without giving birth.”(translation by Miedema)

The word “emblema” had long been used to signify an objet d’art or decorative inlay; Alciati now gave it a literary meaning. The emblem was the poem, independent of an image, complete in and of itself, in Miedema’s words, “an epigram in which something is described so that it signifies something else”, or put another way, “epigrams containing descriptions of representations” which could be executed by craftsmen.

It was the first printer of Alciati’s poems who added images to the “emblems”. In 1531, the Augsburg printer Heinrich Steiner printed a collection of Alciati’s epigrams that the author had dedicated to Conrad Peutinger. Steiner illustrated the collection with images by Hans Schäufelein, explaining to his readers his intention: to make the meaning of the poems clear to the non-scholar “[W]e thought it the best course if, in passing, we made the meaning of the most worthy author plainer by the means of somewhat crude signs, since in any case the learned will find it for themselves.”

While Alciati objected to Steiner’s unauthorized edition, in 1534 he had the Parisian printer Christian Wechel produce a new edition of his poems, corrected and enlarged, to which the printer added new images by Jean Jollat, with the intention of improving the illustrations just as Alciati had improved the text. The majority of subsequent editions of Alciati’s books of emblems (Alciati produced more than one collection of epigrams) would contain illustrations. “We can say then, that in the 1540s the form of the emblem was determined by tradition; that people were aware that the emblem was really an epigram, but that the trio of caption-figure-epigram was the conventional form in which the emblem was presented.”(Miedema, The Term Emblema in Alciati, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes , 1968, Vol. 31 (1968), pp. 234- 250)

“By 1549, there had been printed, with the author's approval, 201 emblems including those on trees. The earlier Augsburg, the Paris and the Venice collections had been gathered into one; the heterogeneous mass was arranged into its cognate parts, and order introduced instead of the old con fusion. About or during the year before his death the various collections were ‘Denuo ab ipso Autore recognita,’ (reviewed again by the author himself.) The substantial form, together with devices, was then given to the entire work, and the eleven additional emblems, published in 1549, 1550 and 1551, were already in the hands of the printers [Roville and Bonhomme], -also direct from the author.”(Green, Andrea Alciati and his books of emblems).

Green, Andrea Alciati and his books of emblems, 45. Landwehr, French Emblems VI, 50. Rahir 286. Praz, (1964), p. 250. Adams A 605. Baudrier IX, 48 and 172. Brun 108. Duplessis 52