BIBLE. Bibia Volgare, la quale in se contiene i sacrosanti libri del vecchio e del nuovo testamento:…

Venice, Appresso Andrea Muschio, 1566.


4to, ff. (xxv) 652. Roman letter, some Italic. Historiated initials, numerous charming and unusual woodcuts throughout (approximatively 340, mainly 7.5×5 plus a few nearly full-page size), sided by lateral decorative borders. Title-page detached and laid down on new paper, woodcut vignette of Saint Gerome penitent with scribble of a galero (cardinal’s hat) on it, French inscription dated “Londres, 1795” recalling a couplet of Ovid’s Tristia (I, 5, vv. 25-26: Scilicet ut fulvum pectator in ignibus aurum, / Tempore sic duro est inspicienda fides): “L’or s’éprouve par le feu, et le vrai ami, dans l’adversité”; early note in Italian at foot of t-p: “Tasso è morto nel MDXCV”, with reference to the poet Torquato Tasso’s death. Slightly trimmed, first three quires a little browned, worn, and soiled, as well as the final leaves, several repairs to gathering A (the beginning of Genesis). Some minimal worming towards beginning in centre of page affecting letters; some marginal wormholes through gutters and outer margins towards the end. leaf Aa1 with paper flaw affecting a woodcut and some letters. Bound in C18th vellum over boards, fragile joints, lightly rubbed to corners of covers and spine caps, gilt-tooled red morocco label to spine, a.e.r.. A nice copy notwithstanding the faults.

As one learns from the printer’s introductory letter to the reader, this quarto edition of the Vernacular translation of Saint Jerome’s Vulgate was issued with the approval of the Father Inquisitor Adriano from Venice, Bishop of Capodistria. Andrea Muschio tells he felt the need of publishing the Holy Scriptures since too long a time had passed from the latest appearance of this crucial text of Christianity, the most useful to human salvation. The quarto format, he adds, allows one to make this bible portable and handy. After this “avis au lecteur”, it follows Jerome’s prologue to the bible, which was translated by the biblical scholar Niccolò Malermi (1422-81). Malermi and his collaborators, Lorenzo from Venice and Girolamo Squarciafico, were the first to translate the Vulgate from Latin into Italian vernacular. The text includes the Old and New Testament and the letter of Saint Paul. The present work is one of the latest C16th editions of Malermi’s translation, which appeared with the title “Bibbia dignamente vulgarizzata per il clarissimo religioso duon Nicolao Malermi Veneziano et dil Monasterio de Santo Michele di Lemo Abbate dignissimo” in two volumes (Venice, Vandelino da Spira, 1471; then republished several times in Venice from Gabriele di Piero, 1477; Antonio Miscomini, 1478; Ottaviano Scoto, 1481; Andrea Paltasichi, 1484; Tommaso Trevisano, 1487; Lucantonio Giunta, 1490, 1492, 1494, 1502, 1507; Guglielmo Anima Mia, 1493; Giorgio Rusconi, 1517; Lazzaro Soardi and Bernardino Benali, 1517; Stefano Nicolini da Sabio, 1524; Elisabetta Rusconi, 1525; Guglielmo Fontaneto and Melchiorre Sossa, 1532; Bernardino Bindoni, 1535, 1541, 1544; Aurelio Pinzi, 1553; Andrea Muschio, 1566; Gerolamo Scoto, 1567). The 1490’s Giunta edition was illustrated with 386 woodcuts attributed to an artist known as the Master of the Pico della Mirandola Pliny, after his most famous illuminated manuscript. A second miniaturist, known as the Master of the Rimini Ovid, may be responsible for some of the other narrative vignettes. The vignettes of these masters were then reused and re-stylised in order to illustrate the numerous above-mentioned editions of this bible, of which the present copy is a remarkable example.

Not in Darlow and Moule. EDIT 16 5777; USTC 804447