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Lot 0030

Ruscelli, Girolamo. Lettura di Girolamo Ruscelli, sopra vn sonetto dell'illustriss. signor marchese della Terza alla diuina signora marchesa del Vasto. Oue con nuoue et chiare ragioni si pruoua la somma perfettione delle donne; et si discorrono molte cose intorno alla scala platonica dell'ascendimento per le cose create alla contemplatione di Dio. Et molte intorno alla uera bellezza, alla gratia, et alla lingua volgare. Oue ancora cade occasione di nominare alcune gentildonne delle piu rare d'ogni terra principal dell'Italia. Venice: per Giouan Griffio, 1552.

4to, 18th century full mottled calf, ff. [6], 77, [i.e. 83], [1].

Xylographic portrait of Maria d'Aragona, Marquise of Vasto (at the age of 34), at f. 74r.

Extremely scarce first and only edition of Ruscelli's Lecture on a Sonnet of Giambattista d'Azzia to Maria d'Aragona (Napoli 1503-1568), a lady of uncommon beauty, also celebrated in the last part of the book by other poets, among which Tansillo, Muzio, Ammirato, Veniero, Nifo and Aretino. Ruscelli takes advantage of this pretext of the sonnet to write a Platonic essay on the perfection of women and on beauty, created by God as a stairway to spiritual elevation.

The work, considered by extension one of the first feminist book, also contains a precious inventory of the most beautiful Italian women of the Renaissance.

Ruscelli Girolamo (also known with the pseudonym Alessio Piemontese) (about 1504-1566) was one of the most eclectic polygraphs of the Renaissance, founder of the Academy of Indignation of Rome.

Provenance: The copy belonged to the Dutch merchant and voyager Rijklof Van Goens (1619-1682), governor-B-Continental of the Dutch East Indies from 1678 to 1681, who published travel books to India, also regarding Far East gastronomy. His signature Van Goens at the higher outer corner of title-page. His large library (19000 volumes) was sold by his nephew in the month of October 1776 in a great auction made by the Utrecht booksellers Ribber, Paddenburg & Van Schoonhoven.

References: Not in Adams. BM STC Italian, p. 593; A. Erdmann, My gracious silence, p. 190. CNCE, 47659. OCLC, 43217997. L. Fiorentini, Maria d'Aragona, marchesa del Vasto, in «Studi e ritratti della Rinascenza», Bari, 1911. The book is quoted in the Catalogue of the library of Rijklof Michael van Goens, Utrecht, 1776, no. 1773: «tres-rare & estimee».


A fine copy.

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[Women, Beauty, Feminism] Ruscelli, 1552

Estimate €600 - €800
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