Milan: Geronimo Bordoni, 1613. 4to (221 x 165 mm). Engraved title, portrait, one engraved head-piece, one full-page and 38 half-page engravings by Cesare Bassano after Carlo Antonio Procaccini. 17th-century mottled calf, gilt spine. Short repaired tear in title and portrait, portrait slightly short, generally a very attractive copy in a near-contemporary binding. Provenance: From the Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, purchased from E.P. Goldschmidt, 1962. Item #401673
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, containing the portrait found only in some copies. Italian literary scholars have speculated that Andreini's play influenced Milton during his trip to Italy, and is therefore a primary source for Paradise Lost. "The action is grandiose. With the Biblical story which forms the groundwork of the picture are interwoven many extravagances and that spectacular display which so pleased the public" (Joseph Spencer Kennard, The Italian Theatre). The performance included fantastical sets, which are captured in Bassano’s engravings after the designs of Carlo Antonio Procaccini.
Vinciana called this 5-act play "the most significant work of theatre in the seventeenth century.” The son of Francesco and Isabella Andreini, the most famous actors of their age, Andreini also acted, using the name Leylio in his comedic performances in Paris. BL 17th-Century Italian I, p. 32; Brunet I:269; Cicognara 1423; Sander 6381; Vinciana 4125.