ALIGHIERI, Dante. Dante con l’espositioni di Christoforo Landino, et d’Alessandro Vellutello. Sopra la sua comedia dell’Inferno, del Purgatorio, et del Paradiso.

Venice, appresso Giovambattista Marchiò Sessa et fratelli., 1578

Folio (316 x 213 mm.), [28], 392 leaves. [i.e. 396, four leaves unnumbered between 163and 164], woodcut portrait of Dante within architectural oval frame on title-page andninety six woodcut illustrations in text, woodcut initials and ornaments, Sessa cat andmouse device at end. A few leaves slightly browned and foxed but a very good copy in contemporary Italian limp vellum, with Dante's name on spine.Beautifully-illustrated, much praised second folio impression by the Fratelli Sessa, edited by Francesco Sansovino. Together with the first of 1564 and the third of 1596, it is one of the three Edizioni del Gatto, from the cat used as printer's device, or Edizioni del Gran Naso, from the handsome woodcut portrait of Dante with his trademark nose.The 96 woodcuts portraying scenes from the poem were cut after those designed by Alessandro Vellutello for the Marcolini edition of 1544. Influential for artists as different as Federico Zuccaro and William Blake, the illustrations were inspired by illuminated medieval manuscript of the Commedia (Brunner, Illustrierung, 49). The text, adapted from the 1502 Aldine edition, is framed by an innovative double-column commentary which features, for the first time together, the glosses of Cristoforo Landino, first printed in 1481, and the more recent ones by Vellutello, of 1544. These were theoretically diverse, one following Aristotelianism and the other Neo-Platonism, as well as often in disagreement on the detailed interpretation of the theological narrative—e.g., Vellutello criticised Landino's calculations of the dimensions of Hell.‘Dante's fortune in the Cinquecento effectively comes to an end with […] Sansovino's three editions of the Comedy (1564, 1578, and 1596). These folio volumes […] come rather unexpectedly after decades of Dantini. One almost has the impression of a nostalgic return to the earliest printed Dantes' (Parker, Commentary, 148).A deluxe edition.COPAC locates 14 copies in the UK; WorldCat locates 12 copies in the US (Michigan, Duke, Bucknell, Delaware, UPenn, Columbia, Pierpont Morgan, Stanford, Huntington, Kansas State, Loyola and Yale).EDIT16 CNCE 1177; Colomb de Batines, Bibliografia dantesca, 97-98; Brunet I, 495: ‘assez estimée'. D. Parker, Commentary and Ideology: Dante in the Renaissance (Durham, 1993); M. Brunner, Die Illustrierung von Dantes ‘Divina Commedia' (Munich, 1999).


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