ALIGHIERI, Dante.. Dante con l’espositioni di Christoforo Landino, et d’Alessandro Vellutello. Sopra la sua Comedia dell’Inferno, del Purgatorio, & del Paradiso. Con Tavole, Argomenti, & Allegorie, & riformato, riveduto, & ridotto alla sua vera Lettura, per Francesco Sansovino Fiorentino.

Venice, Heredi di Francesco Rampazetto. Ad istantia di Giovambattista, Marchio Sessa, et Fratelli,., 1578

Folio (312 x 213 mm.), [28], 392 leaves. [i.e. 396, four leaves unnumbered between 163 and 164], woodcut portrait of Dante within architectural oval frame on title-page and ninety seven cut illustrations in text, woodcut initials and ornaments, Sessa cat and mouse device at end. A few leaves slightly browned and foxed but a very good copy in late XVIII century full calf, spine in compartments decorated in gold, gilt-lettered red morocco label, marbled edges.

Second edition of Dante's Commedia with the commentary by Alessandro Vellutello together with that by Cristoforo Landino. Rampazzetto dedicated the work to Prince Guglielmo Gonzaga, duke of Mantua. Vellutello's commentary, which was first published in Venice in 1544 by Francesco Marcolini, was rediscovered and republished in Italy in 1564 thanks to the ability of the editor, Francesco Sansovino, though this time intertwined with Landino's commentary, first published in Florence in 1481. The choice of putting the two commentaries one close to the other made, at the end of Dante's renaissance history, a comparison possible between differing and somewhat opposing interpretations. The editions of the Commedia by Sessa, printed respectively in 1564, 1578 and 1596, are also known as the “Gran Naso” editions, because of the peculiar profile portrait of the author, with the indecipherable monogram “AB”, on the title page, probably inspired by Vasari, according to Mortimer.The rich and valuable pictorial apparatus, which stands out from the beginning in the introductory part, and which then develops throughout the text – with some repetitions, though – is the same as Dante's 1544 edition. It is traditionally ascribed to the engraver Francesco Marcolini, from Forlì. ‘Egli dovette assimilare il Poema, mettendosi negli occhi e nel cuore del Poeta e creò delle figurazioni di un Inferno visto dall'alto dove non sai se ammirare maggiormente l'arditezza del disegno o la vivente espressività. La lotta del bulino di quell'uomo geniale con la grandezza della materia per esprimere l'eterea sostanza del Paradiso passa per fasi diverse con varia fortuna, finché, in qualcuna delle ultime figurazioni, la forma circolare trapunta di stelle e radiante di linee tendenti all'infinito riesce a darci il senso profondo delle cose divine ed eterne.' (Morchini, La raccolta dantesca Mackenzie. Genova, 1923).


BMSTC 210; Adams D 108; Brunet II 504; Mambelli 49


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