Item #12011 L’Amovr De Cvpido Et De Psiche, Mere De Volvpte…Nouuellement historiée…tant en vers Italien, que Francoys. Apuleius.
L’Amovr De Cvpido Et De Psiche, Mere De Volvpte…Nouuellement historiée…tant en vers Italien, que Francoys.
L’Amovr De Cvpido Et De Psiche, Mere De Volvpte…Nouuellement historiée…tant en vers Italien, que Francoys.
L’Amovr De Cvpido Et De Psiche, Mere De Volvpte…Nouuellement historiée…tant en vers Italien, que Francoys.
“LE MERVEILLEUX Y EST OMNIPRÉSENT” — MEUNIER
“D’UNE QUALITÉ EXCEPTIONELLE” — BRUN
“UN CHEF-D’ŒUVRE” — GAY

L’Amovr De Cvpido Et De Psiche, Mere De Volvpte…Nouuellement historiée…tant en vers Italien, que Francoys.

Paris, Jeanne de Marnef (widow of Denis Janot) 15 September 1546.

Small 8vo (129 x 86 mm.). [xi], [85]p. THIRTY-TWO TEXT WOODCUTS (32 x 54 mm.), each in a woodcut frame of architectural and grotesque border strips dividing the page in two — image above letterpress; some strips contain Jeanne’s motto Nul ne s’y frote. Half-page woodcut cartouches enclose the book’s section titles and the colophon.

Gilt-ruled dark blue morocco (Trautz-Bauzonnet), spine gilt and gilt-lettered, marbled endleaves, all edges gilt.

            FIRST EDITION. THIS PICTURE BOOK OF PASSION, CURIOSITY, PUNISHMENT AND REDEMPTION “CONTAINS VERY MANY OF THE INGREDIENTS OF A FAIRY-TALE” (Meunier, tr.).
            The woodcuts have their genesis in Raphaël’s frescoes of Cupid and Psyche in the Villa Farnesina (completed 1518). In the early 1530s, the Flemish artist Michel Coxie added twenty earthly scenes creating a suite of thirty-two drawings. Shortly after, the Master of the Die cut these in copper above anonymous image-specific Italian verses. The print suite inspired forty-four stained-glass panels at Château d’Écouen (1542-44) captioned by French versions of the Italian text. This pocket book, in turn, provided patterns to artists of the next generation.
           With not a word of Apuleius in them, the parallel poems in Italian and French have interest of their own. The former comment on the scene above even when it diverges from Apuleius. The French huitains are the work of Claude Chappuys, poet and librarian to François Ier, of Antoine Heroët, protégé of Margaret Queen of Navarre, and of Mellin de Saint-Gelais, librarian and court poet to her husband, Henri II. The book’s editor, Jean Maugin (fl. 1545-66), supplied the preliminary and concluding verses.
           Printer Jeanne de Marnef (b. 1509) assumed the business of her husband, Denis Janot, on his death in late 1544; she remarried late in 1546. In the narrow window when she was active on her own account, she issued some superbly beautiful books illustrated in the new French style. In this case she made the Italian text subservient to the cuts, while the facing French poetry, free of ornament, stands alone boasting the arrival of the French Renaissance.
           Close examination of the variants among copies confirms the existence of two editions, not two issues, dated 15 September 1546 (a2v). In this first edition, Maugin used his pen name initials, l.p.a. (Le Petit Angevin), to sign his “Le Plaint du passionnaire fortunée” (pp. [69]-[80]). In the second edition, he altered the title of the piece and attached his own full name to it. Two of the five copies in American libraries have passed through our hands. In good condition.
¶Picard, “Asinus Aureus” & Meunier’s “Psyche & Cupido” in Il était une fois… Les Contes des fées. Exposition à la Bibliothèque Nationale 20.III.-17.VI.2001 ed. Piffault nos. 3-4; Brun, Le Livre illustré en France au XVIe siècle 112-13 & pl. XIb; Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l’amour I: 113-4.
Gaisser, The Fortunes of Apuleius and the Golden Ass: A Study in Transmission and Reception 277-80; Belmont, “La Figure de la conteuse dans la tradition orale” in Il était une fois… 503; Cavicchioli, The Tale of Cupid and Psyche An Illustrated History 170-1 & figg. 104-16 (Écouen windows); Neuville, L'Espace paratextuel à la Renaissance: Jean Maugin et ses contemporains 17-18, 33, 40-3, 87-9; Bingen, Le Maître italien 291,4β; Arbour, Dictionnaire des femmes libraires 293; Mortimer, French 16th Century Books 33: Cioranesco 14866; BP16 112307 État A; Whitney Hoff, La Bibliothèque 51 “one of the prettiest books published in Paris in the 16th century” (tr.).

Item #12011

Price: $18,500.00