LEONARDO DA VINCI. Trattato della pittura di Leonardo Da Vinci. Edited by Raphael du Fresne. , 58, 61-64, 63-112,  pp. Illustrated with engraved additional title-page with portrait of Leonardo, large vignette on title-page, dedication headpiece of Queen Christina of Sweden, 9 engraved head-and tailpieces, 3 engraved initials and 57 in text engravings of drawings and diagrams. Paris: Langlois, 1651. BOUND WITH:
Leon Battista ALBERTI. Della pittura. Della statua. Edited by Raphael du Fresne. , 62 pp. Illustrated with engraved title-page vignettes, engraved portrait of Alberti, 9 engraved head- and tailpieces, 4 engraved initials and 16 in-text engravings. Folio, 383 x 270 mm, bound in contemporary French calf, red morocco spine label stamped in gilt. [Paris: Langlois, 1651].
Ad 1: First Edition of "The most important document in the whole history of art" (Kenneth Clark). Although abbreviated, "the history of the influence of Leonardo's theory of art begins officially with the appearance of this publication" (Pedretti I, p. 14). Leonardo's writings on painting, among the most remarkable from any era, were never edited by Leonardo himself into a single coherent book.
The above volume is critical to the reconstruction of his definitive statement on the subject. This first edition was the outcome of the scholarship in Rome of Cardinal Barberini and his secretary Cassiano dal Pozzo, whose project began in 1640 but did not result in any publication.
The work is illustrated throughout with reproductions of Leonardo's drawings (now lost, but preserved in MS copies originally made by Francesco Melzi). "For reasons unknown Leonardo's Trattato was not published in the sixteenth century. When Melzi died in or about 1570, his compilation was no longer in his hands. At that time MS copies of an abridged version of his compilation were circulating in Italy, and it was one of them that was published in Paris in 1651" (Pedretti). Another important feature of this first edition is that diagrams and engraved vignettes were executed after Nicolas Poussin, including a series of anatomical studies and male nudes.
The above volume is the only printed book bearing Leonardo's name until the end of the nineteenth-century. It remains a key source of Leonardo's writings on per-spective, proportion, colour, light and shadow. The editor of this edition, Raphael Trichet du Fresne, added to his biography of Leonardo a list of 35 books on art; this has been described as "one of the earliest, if not the earliest, art bibliography" (Steinitz).
Ad 2: First appearance in print of Leon Battista Alberti's "Della Statua," also containing the important biography of him, for which see Pierre Jodogne, "La Vita di Leon Battista Alberti écrite par Raphaël Trichet du Fresne (1651)" in: Studi di storia della civiltà letteraria francese: Mélanges offerts à Lionello Sozzi (Paris, 1996), pp. 383-419.
This volume also features a new edition of Alberti's "Della Pittura" as prepared by Du Fresne. "Leonardo's Trattato della pittura is greatly indebted to Alberti" (PMM). Joints restored, some light spotting throughout, several leaves with staining and toning, some worming in the lower gutter, some brown pencil markings, old repair on leaf 4 of Della pittura, overall, a good copy of this rare book.
Kate Trauman Steinitz, Leonardo da Vinci's Trattato della Pittura / Treatise on Painting: A Bibliography of the Printed Editions 1651-1956 (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1958) no. 1 (pp. 145-150). Cicognara 232. Gamba 1164. See also PMM 28.
Item nr. 166960