Bologna: Lelio dalla Volpe, 1736. 2 parts in one volume, 4to (290 x 211 mm). Engraved frontispiece and 20 plates by Ludovico Mattioli after Giuseppe Maria Crespi, engraved and letterpress folding table, large printer's device on title, oval author portrait vignette, 16 tail-pieces. Contemporary Italian vellum, red leather lettering-piece. Light wear to binding. Provenance: Ernst and Elise Lipmann (bookplate); purchased from Andrew Robison, 1975. From the Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow. Item #401765
FIRST APPEARANCE of Giuseppe Maria Crespi’s images as book illustrations, one of the most splendid Bolognese illustrated books of the eighteenth century. Circa 1710 Mattioli published his first set of etchings after Crespi’s drawings of the popular Bertoldo and Bertoldino stories (Bartsch 23-42). He then reinterpreted the result of this collaborations in a new series of etchings for this edition a quarter of a century later. Croce’s comic, anti-aristocratic stories are re-imagined in ottava rima by G. P. Riva, P. B. Baldi, G. P. Zanotti, and others. Adding commentary is Giovanni Andrea Barotti. Proverbs and folktales are woven through the story of the crude but world-savvy peasant Bertoldo and his son, Bertoldino. Croce, the son of a blacksmith, was one of Italy’s most successful self-taught authors, whose popularity exceeded his social stature. The abbot Adriano Banchieri was one of many who admired his work; his sequel to the work was published in 1620. Gamba 2156; Brunet I, 820.