1757 · Venezia
A very good copy in an original Venetian binding of this rare, illustrated biography of the life of Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595), the founder of the Oratorian order. This is the only edition of this suite of plates.
Neri, an extremely popular confessor and spiritual advisor in Rome whose advice was sought by Popes and Cardinals as well as commoners, was venerated as a saint during his lifetime and was canonized in 1622. During an ecstatic religious experience at the time of his conversion, his heart was said to be miraculously enlarged. This extraordinary condition remained with him throughout his life. The flaming heart seen at the top of the emblematic borders may also allude to this attribute.
The title page, frontispiece portrait, and 38 plates with explanatory text were engraved by Giuseppe Filosi, a book illustrator active in Venice from the 1740s to the 1760s. The images are based on illustrations by Giacomo Tanaglia. The title-page is very original in its format, as the text of the title is "spelled out" in historiated upper-case letters, each depicting a virtue which is identified in a caption beneath each letter.
The illustrations have been printed within engraved borders printed in sanguine. The single exception is the one border for the portrait printed in black. Representative of the lavishness of this production, two separate designs were executed for the emblematic borders: one includes nude cherubs while the other shows cherubs with small pieces of strategically placed cloth to maintain decorum.
Bridwell Library's copy, one of only two in the United States printed on special large-paper sheets with red-colored borders.
Brunet, Manuel du Libraire, I 599n. Not in Morazzoni, Il Libro Illustrato Veneziano del settacento., or Lapiccirella, Libri Illustrati Veneziani del XVII Secolo Catalogo 3, or the Italian Union Catalogue, ICCU. See Bridwell Library exhibition label description quoted above at https://www.smu.edu/Bridwell/SpecialCollectionsandArchives/Exhibitions/SuitesSequencesSets/Neri. OCLC cites two copies, Harvard and SMU. Not in NUC.. (Inventory #: 853)