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Auction archive: Lot number 169

VERRICCI, Marco (fl. late 16th century) [possibly a pseudonym of Filippo Pigafetta]. "Immaginazioni Militari." Manuscript on paper, in Italian. Venice, 20 September 1595.

Estimate
US$90,000 - US$120,000
Price realised:
n. a.
Auction archive: Lot number 169

VERRICCI, Marco (fl. late 16th century) [possibly a pseudonym of Filippo Pigafetta]. "Immaginazioni Militari." Manuscript on paper, in Italian. Venice, 20 September 1595.

Estimate
US$90,000 - US$120,000
Price realised:
n. a.
Beschreibung:

VERRICCI, Marco (fl. late 16th century) [possibly a pseudonym of Filippo Pigafetta]. "Immaginazioni Militari." Manuscript on paper, in Italian. Venice, 20 September 1595. Oblong folio album (245 x 380mm). 57 leaves. 50 full-page pen and ink drawings of imaginary cities and their armies; 50 emblematic cartouches each containing an octave describing the opposite city, some with Latin mottos; dedication in ornamental border; allegorical cartouche with octave praising Venice on the verso (some light soiling and spotting; some early marginal repairs where ink has eaten through paper; traces of paste on first two leaves with some loss of text). Contemporary red morocco with gilt triple fillets enclosing large oval centerpiece composed of double fillets in arabesque patterns with armorial shield, edges gilt (arms erased, slightly scuffed). Splendid manuscript designs for imaginary fortified cities, dedicated to the Doge Marino Grimani in the year of his election. Grimani served as Superintendent of Fortresses before becoming Doge, and worked for many years on the design and building of the Palmanova fortress, the greatest of the Renaissance star forts. Verricci's album offers a paragon of Renaissance idealism: a utopian vision which champions the might derived from pushing the human genius to the limits of the imagination, combining mathematics, philosophy, and military prowess with art, poetry, and design. Little is known about the author-artist Marco Verricci, some of whose other ingenious military designs survive in a 1582 album in the Biblioteca Bertoliana (see Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts 112492), but he may have worked with Grimani on the designs for Palmanova. Italian art historian Lionello Puppi has cautiously suggested that “Verriccius” may be a pseudonym of Fillipo Pigafetta, a Venetian soldier and mathematician who wrote extensively on military fortifications. In this album, Verricci illustrates and whimsically describes 50 imaginary cities whose designs are based on the utopian mathematical ideals of the Renaissance star fort. The cities, with names like Mirabella, Grimanopoli, and Durissima, are situated in elaborate landscapes (and almost all island fortresses, like their model) and rendered in exquisite detail. The octave opposite each illustration describes the strengths and virtues of each fantastical fortress in the vein of Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities —which also featured a litany of imaginary towns all reflective of La Serenissima herself. The second to last illustration depicts the 1571 Battle of Lepanto, a major naval victory by the Holy League over the Ottomans. The Palmanova fortress was dedicated exactly 22 years, to the day, after the battle—thus its inclusion here links the glory of Lepanto explicitly to the achievements of Doge Grimani, in addition to situating this imaginative work back into its real-life context of simmering conflict not just between Europe and the Turks, but also between Venice and Austria—her enemy to the North Manfredo Tafuri, Venice and the Renaissance (Boston: MIT Press, 1995). Lionello Puppi, Scrittori vicentini d’architettura del secolo XVI (Venice: Accademia Olimpica, 1973).

Auction archive: Lot number 169
Auction:
Datum:
5 Dec 2017
Auction house:
Christie's
New York
Beschreibung:

VERRICCI, Marco (fl. late 16th century) [possibly a pseudonym of Filippo Pigafetta]. "Immaginazioni Militari." Manuscript on paper, in Italian. Venice, 20 September 1595. Oblong folio album (245 x 380mm). 57 leaves. 50 full-page pen and ink drawings of imaginary cities and their armies; 50 emblematic cartouches each containing an octave describing the opposite city, some with Latin mottos; dedication in ornamental border; allegorical cartouche with octave praising Venice on the verso (some light soiling and spotting; some early marginal repairs where ink has eaten through paper; traces of paste on first two leaves with some loss of text). Contemporary red morocco with gilt triple fillets enclosing large oval centerpiece composed of double fillets in arabesque patterns with armorial shield, edges gilt (arms erased, slightly scuffed). Splendid manuscript designs for imaginary fortified cities, dedicated to the Doge Marino Grimani in the year of his election. Grimani served as Superintendent of Fortresses before becoming Doge, and worked for many years on the design and building of the Palmanova fortress, the greatest of the Renaissance star forts. Verricci's album offers a paragon of Renaissance idealism: a utopian vision which champions the might derived from pushing the human genius to the limits of the imagination, combining mathematics, philosophy, and military prowess with art, poetry, and design. Little is known about the author-artist Marco Verricci, some of whose other ingenious military designs survive in a 1582 album in the Biblioteca Bertoliana (see Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts 112492), but he may have worked with Grimani on the designs for Palmanova. Italian art historian Lionello Puppi has cautiously suggested that “Verriccius” may be a pseudonym of Fillipo Pigafetta, a Venetian soldier and mathematician who wrote extensively on military fortifications. In this album, Verricci illustrates and whimsically describes 50 imaginary cities whose designs are based on the utopian mathematical ideals of the Renaissance star fort. The cities, with names like Mirabella, Grimanopoli, and Durissima, are situated in elaborate landscapes (and almost all island fortresses, like their model) and rendered in exquisite detail. The octave opposite each illustration describes the strengths and virtues of each fantastical fortress in the vein of Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities —which also featured a litany of imaginary towns all reflective of La Serenissima herself. The second to last illustration depicts the 1571 Battle of Lepanto, a major naval victory by the Holy League over the Ottomans. The Palmanova fortress was dedicated exactly 22 years, to the day, after the battle—thus its inclusion here links the glory of Lepanto explicitly to the achievements of Doge Grimani, in addition to situating this imaginative work back into its real-life context of simmering conflict not just between Europe and the Turks, but also between Venice and Austria—her enemy to the North Manfredo Tafuri, Venice and the Renaissance (Boston: MIT Press, 1995). Lionello Puppi, Scrittori vicentini d’architettura del secolo XVI (Venice: Accademia Olimpica, 1973).

Auction archive: Lot number 169
Auction:
Datum:
5 Dec 2017
Auction house:
Christie's
New York
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