Rare first edition. The first book in which appear images of organisms through the microscope. Surprising Bee engraved on page 52, showing minute details of antennae, legs, the sting, the head and tongue.
Freedburg: “still has the capacity to arouse the wonder of modern experts.” On page 127 is a smaller illustration of a magnified grain weevil, including a detail of the tip of the insect’s snout and mandibles. Freedburg: “Whenever he possibly could, Stelluti took a word or phrase in Persius almost any word or phrase and used it as an excuse to refer to one or another aspect of the natural historical researches of the Linceans. The most insignificant reference in the elegies sparked long and short excursuses on the Linceans’ work.” In 1624 Cesi had been sent a microscope by Galileo, another Lincean, and it was most likely this instrument that Cesi and Stelluti used to prepare their pioneering images of insects under magnification. Ford, Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration, pp. 172-173, 179-180; Freedburg, The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History, 2003, p. 187-89. This copy lacks Portrait leaf.