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Ulisse Aldrovandi: Monstrorum historia. 1642
Ulisse Aldrovandi: Monstrorum historia. 1642
Ulisse Aldrovandi: Monstrorum historia. 1642
Ulisse Aldrovandi: Monstrorum historia. 1642

Aldrovandi, Ulisse

Monstrorum historia cum paralipomenis historiae omnium animalium Bartholomaeus Ambrosius (…) composit.

Nicolo Tebaldini for Marco Antonio Bernia, Bologna, 1642

CHF 6740.–

First edition of the ‘Monstrorum historia’ together with the often missing ‘Paralipomena’.

Description: 2 vols. in 1. Contemporary full vellum on 6 raised bands, with gilt title to spine. Folio: 36 × 24 cm; pp. [5], 748, [27], 159, [6]. With a engraved frontispiece and approx. 600 woodcuts, some full-page.

Ref.: Bäumer ii, p. 111-116; Nissen ZBI 74; Wellcome i, 172

Condition: Covers show wear to corners, edges. Loss of material in a compartment of the spine. The frontispiece a little bit trimmed and in the lower margin with slight loss of image and text. Throughout faint dampstain in upper margin resp. upper third, occasional light mainly marginal spotting and browning.

Notes: Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605) was one of Europe’s first great naturalists. He became the University of Bologna’s first Professor of Natural Sciences, and amassed a collection of many thousands of objects. Aldrovandi was a great believer in direct observation. In his monumental work Opera omnia, published over a span of nearly 50 years, Aldrovandi attempted to describe the entire natural world. His depictions of animals and plants are sometimes so detailed as was not the case in earlier books. But at the latest with his most famous work, the Monstrorum historia, it becomes obvious that he clearly contradicts his own statement “I have never described any thing without first having seen it with my eyes”. The Monstrorum historia contains fanciful mythical creatures known only from hearing about them. Also, several of his quadrupeds were reproduced from Conrad Gessner’s Historia animalium or taken from Ambroise Paré’s Des monstres et prodiges. It’s worth pointing out that Aldrovandi only oversaw the production of the first few volumes of his work. The Monstrorum historia was published posthumously in 1642 by his successors on the faculty, who possibly relied on Aldrovandi’s authority.

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