A.-A. Renouard, Catalogue de la bibliothèque d'un amateur, Paris 1819, vol. I, p. 320;
G. Uzielli, Ricerce intorno a Leonardo da Vinci, Turin 1896, vol. II, pp. 345-6;
J.P. Richter, The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci, London 1939, vol. I, p. 9, note 5;
Kate T. Steinitz, 'Poussin, Illustrator of Leonardo da Vinci and the Problem of Replicas in Poussin's Studio,' Art Quarterly, XVI, 1953, pp. 40-51, figs. 12, 15, 18, 19;
Idem, Leonardo da Vinci's Trattato della Pittura: A Bibliography of the printed editions 1651-1956, Copenhagen 1958, pp. 80-82, no. C, reproduced pp. 82, 92, 147;
Idem, 'Bibliography never ends,' Raccolta Vinciana, vol. XVIII, 1960, p. 101;
W. Friedländer and A. Blunt, The Drawings of Nicolas Poussin, London 1963, vol. IV, p. 28, pl. 210;
A. Blunt, The Drawings of Poussin, New Haven and London 1979, p. 155;
M. Jaffé, Van Dyck's Antwerp Sketchbook, London 1966, pp. 34-35;
A. Vezzosi and C. Pedretti, La Raccolta Leonardesca della Contessa de Béhague, Vinci 1980 (and in English, 1981, under title Leonardo's Return to Vinci, The Countess de Béhague Collection);
P. Rosenberg and L.-A. Prat, Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665, Catalogue raisonné des dessins, 2 vols., Milan 1994, vol. I, p. 242, under no. 129, two folios illustrated p. 241, figs. 129k and 129l
Manuscript copies of Leonardo's writings on painting had been in circulation since his pupil and heir, Francesco Melzi, had transcribed them after Leonardo's death. It was not until 1651, however, that the first printed editions of the Trattato della Pittura appeared, one in French and one in Italian, both published in Paris by du Fresne, with engravings after Poussin. It was the distinguished Italian scholar, patron and collector, Cassiano dal Pozzo, who conceived this project and commissioned Poussin to do the illustrations. The original manuscript, in Cassiano's own hand, with Poussin's drawings, is now in the Ambrosiana, Milan (H.228 inf.). A manuscript in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, is considered to be a copy given by Cassiano to Chantelou to be taken to Paris and used for the printed edition. The de Ganay manuscript is another contemporary copy, which may also have been used by the printer in conjunction with Chantelou's.
The series of drawings in the de Ganay manuscript is complete, and the text accords with the printed edition, with only a few small omissions and additions.
Blunt dates the Poussin drawings for the Trattato before 1640, and possibly even before 1638. In a letter to Abraham Bosse, Poussin writes that he only made the figure drawings and he complains that the engraver, Errard, added very awkward landscapes around the figures. The optical diagrams and the anatomical and landscape drawings for the 1651 edition were probably made by another artist, possibly Pierfrancesco Alberti (1585-1638).
The de Ganay manuscript is composed of 115 leaves of text, written in pen and brown ink on both sides of the page, some pages with marginal diagrams in pen and brown ink, or black chalk. The text has been transcribed by two different seventeenth century hands, at one time thought to be those of Poussin and Dughet. Folios 116-125 are optical diagrams, in pen and brown ink, with some figure studies in black chalk, all only drawn on the recto. Folios 126-133 are a text titled Alcune memorie de'fatti da Leonardo da Vinci...del P.D. Gio Ambo. Mazzenta, written in pen and brown ink, on both sides of the page. Folios 134-162 are optical diagrams and figure studies in pen and brown ink and wash, on the recto only.
The various manuscripts and printed editions of Leonardo's Trattato are listed and described by Kate Steinitz (op. cit., 1958) and Poussin's drawings for the 1651 edition are discussed by Friedländer and Blunt (loc. cit.), and more recently Rosenberg and Prat (loc. cit.).
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