FONTANA, Carlo (1634-1714). Templum Vaticanum et ipsius origo. Rome: Giovanni Francesco Buagni, 1694.

A fine copy of the first edition of Fontana’s great work on the history of Vatican architecture, in a presentation binding for Czar Paul I. "The Templum Vaticanum caused a sensation in the contemporary art world; it was ardently discussed, for instance, in the correspondence of the director of the French Academy in Rome for the next two years. The publication was an ambitious visual, intellectual, and typographic enterprise” (Millard). Highlights include a detailed account of the 1585 transportation of the Vatican Obelisk, with Specchi’s marvelous series of engravings detailing this feat of engineering, as well as Fontana's learned comparison of the building of Saint Peter's with the construction of the Temple of Solomon. Berlin Kat. 2678; Fowler 122; Millard Italian38.

Folio (430 x 312mm). Parallel title and text in Latin and Italian; 79 engraved plates and plans, 10 of which large and folding, by Alessandro Specchi after Fontana (very occasional toning and a few spots, glue stains along seams in some of the folding engravings; a few very small marginal repairs). Late 18th-century Roman green straight-grained morocco, richly gilt on boards and spine, with the Russian Imperial arms over an ermine mantle on the boards, probably by the Vatican bindery (a few light abrasions). Provenance: Czar Paul I (1754-1801; binding).
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