Title: A Treatise of Painting
Author: Leonardo da Vinci
Publisher: J. Senex, W. Taylor, 1721. First English translation. Impossibly rare. Few copies exist in this condition.
Condition: Near fine. Detailed description below.
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This beautiful book is a remarkable condition. Original calf boards with a later rebacked spine. Front endpaper contains a book plate dated 1755. The book has been collated, and is complete. All engravings and tables are present, making a total of 35 plates excluding the frontispiece, all of which were illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci. Foldout facing page 123 (Fig 5) is likely to have been torn neatly at the bottom, but the illustration itself is unaffected (see photos). Top edge is stained, else near perfect for its age. Binding tight, text very, very clean and unmarked.
About the book:
This is the 1st English translation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Treatise of Painting, and was done from the Italian first published 1651. This was the only book by Leonardo widely circulated during the Renaissance and needless to say has been tremendously influential.
“A Treatise on Painting is a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s writings entered in his notebooks under the general heading “On Painting”. The manuscripts were gathered together by Francesco Melzi some time before 1542 and first printed in French and Italian as Trattato della pittura by Raffaelo du Fresne in 1651. The main aim of the treatise was to argue that painting was a science. Leonardo’s keen observation of expression and character is evidenced in his comparison of laughing and weeping, about which he notes that the only difference between the two emotions in terms of the “motion of the [facial] features” is “the ruffling of the brows, which is added in weeping, but more elevated and extended in laughing.” – from Wikipedia