Folio (320 x 210 mm) modern vellum with yapp edges, red speckled page edges (slightly bowed). Title page with Niccolini’s device, pp. (12), 288 (paginated 1-143 on recto only), (2), colophon leaf with Niccolini’s device, 4 double-page woodcut diagrams on 3 double-page leaves, 110 full-page diagrams and 39 additional diagrams in the text, woodcut tailpiece, foliated and historiated initials in three sizes. Small ink hole in lower margin of the title, marginal soiling to title and preliminaries and occasionally elsewhere, staining in margins of final quire.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ITALIAN TRANSLATION of Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) ‘Von Menschlicher Proportion’, on the symmetry of the human body. It was Durer’s third book, the synthesis of his belief that beauty was related to mathematical proportion. In the book he makes the height of the human body the basic form of measurement. Books I and II treat the mathematical and geometrical construction of forms, whilst books III and IV consider the problems of variation and movement. It leads on to difficult and intricate considerations of spatial geometry, and finally the construction of his famous ‘cube man’. ‘Durer was the first artist, who, brought up in the late-medieval workshops of the North, fell under the spell of art theory as it had evolved in Italy. It is in his development as a theorist of art that we can study in vitro, as it were, the transition from a convenient code of instructions to a systematic and formulated body of knowledge’ (E. Panofsky, Albrecht Durer, I:244-5).
Durer’s fascination with a framework of geometry for delineating the human proportion must have appealed greatly to Gallucci as a mathematician. Mortimer notes that these Venice blocks are ‘close copies’ of those used for the first edition of the German text, printed at Nuremberg in 1528. Adams D-1055; BL STC Italian p.228; Brunet II, 914; Cicognara 321; Durling 1299; Mortimer Italian 169; Riccardi I, 569; Wellcome II 1920.