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Jesuit emblemata, with about 270 devices with mottos,
the engraved title-page drawn by Rubens

PIETRASANTA, Silvestro.
De symbolis heroicis libri IX.
Antwerp, Balthasar Moretus, 1634. 4to. With an integral engraved allegorical title-page by Cornelius I Galle after a drawing by Peter Paul Rubens, the Plantin-Moretus woodcut device facing the colophon, an engraved portrait and engraved coat of arms of the dedicatee, the future Cardinal Pier Luigi Carafa, 7 full-page engraved family trees, about 270 engraved emblematic devices with mottos and a few other engraved and woodcut illustrations in the text. Contemporary Italian gold-tooled red goatskin morocco, gilt and gauffered edges. Rebacked with the original back strip laid down.
€ 3,500
First edition of an emblematic, heraldic and genealogical work devoted to mottos of "heros" by the Italian Jesuit Silverstro Pietrasanta (1590-1647), printed and published by Christoffel Plantin's grandson Balthasar Moretus. In Pietrosanto's view one became a "hero" from a favourable combination of ancestry and virtue. The book is divided into nine thematic "libri". The first presents mottos on emblems associated with the Virgin Mary, saints, Popes, Cardinals, noble men and women and scholars; the second mottos on antique coins and medals; the third mottos on rings; the fourth secret mottos, where Pietrosanto analyses their emblems. The other chapters continue with mottos and emblems: their names and meanings, their value and nature, their content, how they are constructed or drawn and their symbolism. The engraved title-page was drawn for the book by Peter Paul Rubens and engraved by Cornelis I Galle.
With owner's stamps and bookplates. With occasional minor browning or spots, but otherwise in very good condition. Binding rebacked as noted, and with a few scratches and scuff marks, but otherwise good. First edition of a Jesuit emblemata, with about 300 illustrations.
Landwehr, Emblem books Low Countries 633 (6 copies); Museum Plantin-Moretus, P.P. Rubens als boekillustrator (1977) , 29a; Praz, p. 455 (6 copies).
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Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Book History, Calligraphy & Printing
History, law & philosophy  >  Genealogy, Heraldry & Flags
Literature & linguistics  >  Emblem, Fable & Songbooks