BRUNUS ARETINUS, LEONARDUS. 1369-1444.  De bello Italico adversus Gothos gesto. Venice: Nicolas Jenson, 1471.

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Lot 21
BRUNUS ARETINUS, LEONARDUS. 1369-1444.
De bello Italico adversus Gothos gesto. Venice: Nicolas Jenson, 1471.

Sold for US$ 15,075 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

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8 Jul 2020 ended at 13:00 EDT

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Early Printed Books and Illuminated Manuscripts
BRUNUS ARETINUS, LEONARDUS. 1369-1444.
De bello Italico adversus Gothos gesto. Venice: Nicolas Jenson, 1471.
4to (279 x 187 mm). 64 unnumbered leaves. Type: 1:115R. 32 and 34 lines. Opening page with a delicate manuscript initial "E" framed in gold showing a deer lying in a meadow with the Italian countryside spreading in the background, in the style of the schools of Antonio Pisanello and Perugino. 19th-century crushed morocco stamp-signed by Chambolle-Duru, covres with blind-ruled frame and gilt fleuron cornerpieces around large central arabesque. Probably washed, the text clean and slightly faded in places, covers with a bit of white residue from leather preservations, wide margins. Provenance: possibly Colonna family (manuscript coat-of-arms on lower margin of first page); Albert Ehrman (1890-1969) Broxbourne library (armorial bookplate and monogram stamp).

Second edition. This superb early incunable was produced through the efforts of two great humanists--writer and historian Leonardo Bruni and printer and type designer Nicolaus Jenson (1420-80). Chancellor of Florence and author of the famous "History of the Florentine Republic," Leonardo Bruni called "Aretino" from his native Arezzo, was a leading humanist of the early Renaissance. He was inspired by the fame of his fellow Aretine Petrarch to devote himself to classical studies, and is credited with coining the phrase "studia humanitatis," from which the terms "humanist" and "humanities" come. He wrote in a much-admired beautiful classical Latin style, and he influenced the way history was conceived of and written by focusing on three periods, the ancient world, the dark ages, and the "modern" world. Written in 1441, "Bello Italico" was the last of his works of history and is perhaps the most poignant. Composed late in the author's life and reflecting his growing pessimism, the work focuses on the end of the classical world, featuring the gothic invasion of Italy and Justinian's effort to free Italy from the invaders' rule. Born a Frenchman near Troyes, Jenson is known to have set up shop in Venice in 1470, and during a decade of labor, he probably issued more than 100 works. He is best known today for his perfecting of the roman typeface, on display to great effect in the present work, William Morris and Emery Walker considered that "he carried the development of Roman type as far as it can go," and Walker's elegant Doves type was clearly influenced by Jenson. According to D. B. Updike, "no other man [in Renaissance Italy] produced quite so fine a font, or had better taste in the composition of a page and its imposition upon paper." Very rare, according to American Book Prices Current only three other copies sold at auction since 1975. BMC V, 170; BSB-Ink B-938; Goff B-1235; GW B5601.
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BRUNUS ARETINUS, LEONARDUS. 1369-1444.  De bello Italico adversus Gothos gesto. Venice: Nicolas Jenson, 1471.
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