1620. Florence: Pietro Cecconcelli, 1620.
Small 4to, [xiv], 162, [ii] pp. With an etched title-page and five double-page etched plates by Jacques Callot. Strictly contemporary limp vellum, backstrip titled in manuscript, some wear and soiling to binding and an inoffensive waterstain in the lower margin from a2-D2, but an entirely unsophisticated copy with superb strikes of the plates.
§ First edition of this important tragedy, produced in 1619 and published many times in the 17th century. The illustrations are regarded as some of Callot’s finest work. “French etcher, engraver, and draughtsman. He was one of the most accomplished printmakers in the Western tradition and one of the major exponents of the Mannerist style in the early 17th century. His often fantastic compositions combine grotesque and elegant elements in a compelling and personal manner.” (Grove, Dictionary of Art). Callot based his illustrations on the work of his colleague Parigi, architect and chief designer of courtly festivities under the Grand Duke Cosimo Medici II, who died two years later causing Callot to return to his native Nancy. Gamba 1810. Cicognara 1086. Lieure 363-368. The book is quite scarce, especially in unsophisticated condition and with such fine impressions of the plates. The Schaeffer copy, for example (1994, lot 38), had the plates on stubs, was cut down slightly, and rebound in recent red morocco. Of the six copies at auction since 1975, only one was in contemporary vellum (1978). Item #6296