Dante Alighieri

La Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri Con varie Annotazioni, e copiosi Rami adornata...

Venice, Antonio Zatta, 1757.

(Bound with:) Gasparo Gozzi (1713-1786) Giudizio degli antichi Poeti sopra la moderna censura di Dante, attribuita ingiustamente a Virgilio... Venice, Antonio Zatta, 1758.

Two works in three volumes in large 4° (301x210 mm). Printed on blue paper. I. [16],xlviii,ccccviii;cccc xiii, [3];cccclii, [8], 103, [1] pages. Title-page printed in red and black, with an engraved vignette. The volumes contain in total 107 engraved plates, issued in blue, red, green and black. The first volume contains 41 plates, including the frontispiece engraved by G. Giampicoli after F. Fontebasso, the portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Russia drawn and engraved by G. Magnini, the engraved dedicatory letter to the Empress, and four unsigned plates showing respectively some medals owned at the time by the count Gianmaria Mazzucchelli in Brescia, the portrait of Dante, the tomb of the Florentine poet, and the map of Hell after Antonio Manetti (17 are in red, 13 in black, 11 in green or blue). The second volume contains 33 plates (8 are in red, 15 in black, 10 in green or blue). The third one also contains 33 plates (12 are in red, 12 in black, 9 in green or blue). Engraved initials, numerous head- and tailpieces. Each canto introduced by an engraved argomento, within a rocaille frame.

II. 18, [2], 55, [1], 72 pages. Title-page printed in red and black, with an engraved vignette. Frontispiece engraved by A. Baratti after F. Scagiaro. Engraved initials, large head- and tailpieces.
Uniformly bound in contemporary Italian marbled calf over pasteboards, richly gilt-tooled. Spines with five raised bands, title and volume numbering on double lettering-pieces. Marbled pastedowns, red edges. An excellent copy.

Provenance: Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio (1774-1831); Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan (small stamps on the front flyleaf and some leaves of each volume; copy sold as duplicate); Sergio Colombi (ex-libris on the front pastedown); Livio Ambrogio collection.

An exceptional copy – printed by Antonio Zatta on thick blue paper of very high quality and with numerous plates printed in different shades of red, blue and green – of this monumental achievement, the first illustrated Commedia to be published since 1596. No other copy on blue paper is recorded. Batines mentions that a few special copies – “in carta grande” and “in carta stragrande” – were issued, but only the present copy is today listed as being on blue paper.
The edition is dedicated by the editor, Cristoforo Zapata de Cisneros, to Empress Elizaveta Petrovna of Russia, the daughter of the Czar Peter the Great. This publication launched the fortune of the Commedia in Russia: its first translation into Russian appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The text of the Zatta edition of the Commedia is based on that printed in Padua in 1727 (the well-known Cominiana edition), and is accompanied by the commentaries of some of the best Dante scholars of the time such as Pompeo Venturi and Giovanni Antonio Volpi. Bound into the third volume of this copy is the first edition of Gasparo Gozzi's Giudizio, a defence of the Florentine poet against the criticism of Saverio Bettinelli (1718-1808) which greatly contributed to the reputation of Dante in the decades to come.
The numerous engraved plates included in the edition – in this blue-paper copy also printed in red, blue or green – were designed by many ‘valentissimi' artists, among them the Venetian Francesco Fontebasso (1707-1769), Gaetano Gherardo Zompini from Nervesa near Treviso (1700-1778) and Michelangelo Schiavone from Chioggia (1712-1772), who also were responsible for the designs to the edition of Petrarca's Rime, published by Zatta in 1756. The drawings were skilfully engraved, among others, by Giovanni Magnini, Bartolomeo Crivellari, and Giuliano Giampicoli.
A marvellous copy, from the celebrated library of the Marquis Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio, who assembled one of the most complete Dante collections of all time.