Product No. salviani001

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Aquatilium animalium historiae

This early, folio engraving from Ippolito Salviani’s Aquatilium Animalium Historiae, liber primus, cum eorundem formis, aere excuses. It is from the rare fist issue of the first edition published in Rome by Salvinaus between 1554 and 1558. The work featured various illustrations of fish and cephalapods. It was the first iconography of fishes that was illustrated with copperplate engravings that were printed with Salviani’s own press.

The engravings were detailed and very accurate, and thus gave the best early view of many of the species. It is noted that “the plates… in accuracy and beauty far surpass any figures published in the next 100 years.” (Dean) The work depicted common fish, eels, sharks, skates, squids, and an octopus. Woods described the work as “an important, early and well-illustrated treatise on fishes.”

The design of the title page and many of the illustrations were attributed to Nicolas Beatricetto. It is generally assumed that Antonio Lafrery was the engraver. It is also theorized that Salviani commissioned sketches by B. Artenus, and that he produced many of these from fresh firsh at Roman markets. Beatricetto also seems to have drawn inspiration from the work of A. Masius, L. Ghini, and D. Barbatus.

The work was dedicated to Pope Paul IV, though Salviani had intended it to be dedicated to Cardinal Marcello Cervini, who contributed both financially and in the gathering of material. Cervini’s coat of arms does appear on the title page, however. Cervini later became Pope Marcellus II.

Ippolito Salviani (1514-1572) served as the personal physician for Pope Julius III, Marcellus II, and Paul III. He also taught practical medicing at the Sapienza University in Rome from 1551 to 1568.

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