Dante Alighieri

La Comedia di Dante Aligieri con la nova espositione di Alessandro Vellutello...

Venice, Francesco Marcolini, June 1544.

4° (234 x 158 mm). Collation: AA-BB8, CC10, A-Z8, AB-AZ8, BC-BI8. [442] leaves. Italic and roman type, the text of the Commediasurrounded by the commentary. Three full-page woodcuts at the beginning of each cantica (fols. CC10v, T7v, AO4v); eighty-four woodcut vignettes in text. Marginal diagrams; blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin, over pasteboards. Boards within concentric blind-tooled candelabra frames. Traces of clasps. Spine with three raised bands, traces of paper label at the top, an early shelfmark inked at the bottom. An excellent copy, soiling in places, a few finger-marks, minor stains in the blank margins. On the recto of the front flyleaf bibliographical note in a nineteenth-century German hand 'Nach Ebert's Allegem. bibliographisch. Lexicon I Band, S. 441. N. 5705 “Geschätzt und sauber Mit schönen Holzschnitten”'.

Provenance: Livio Ambrogio collection.

The first edition of the Commedia with the renowned commentary by the Lucchese Alessandro Vellutello (b. 1473) – the first of two new commentaries to be published in the sixteenth century - and the first use of this important, and influential series of illustrations, probably realized for the printer from Forlì Francesco Marcolini by Giovanni Britto, who worked as an engraver for him. The most distinctive illustrative narrative produced for the Commedia after Botticelli's drawings, a series of woodcuts which for the first time illustrate not only Dante's cantos but also the commentary itself. A very fine copy, in its original German binding.