Lot 11
  • 11

Giovio, Paolo

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Giovio, Paolo
  • Elogia virorum bellica virtute illustrium, septem libris iam olim ab authore comprehensa, et nunc ex eiusdem musaeo ad vivum expressis imaginibus exornata. Basel: Pietro Perna (for Heinrich Petri, February) 1575
  • Paper
folio (357 x 228mm.), title within hand-coloured woodcut border, woodcut portrait of Giovio on a2v, woodcut initials, woodcut portraits within borders, all with fine contemporary hand-colouring, 10 empty frames for portraits, contemporary pink calf elaborately gilt, covers with large central arabesque panel stamp and borders composed of similar arabesque panel stamps, spine gilt in compartments, gilt and gauffered edges, small stain on m6, paper repair to margin of Gg4, binding rubbed (especially spine), head of upper cover faded, covers slightly scraped, lacking two pairs of green silk ties

The Giovio Series was a collection of 484 portraits assembled by the historian and churchman Giovio and housed in his home town of Como. The pictures were mostly made from life or copied from versions considered as lifelike as possible (though the portrait of Henry VIII certainly lacks verisimilitude). The collection covered men of letters, rulers and statesmen, and even a few women. Giovio then composed volumes of short biographies based on the portraits; this volume of military figures was first published in 1551 (though without the portraits) and its geographical spread reaches from Scotland to Ethiopia, including many Ottoman and Persian rulers as well as numerous Italians.

The collection did not long survive Giovio's death in 1552, but Cosimo I de' Medici had had copies of the portraits made, which do survive and are housed in the Uffizi in Florence; a set of copies was also made for Ferdinand II, Archduke of the Tyrol (now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) and for Cardinal Federico Borromeo (in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana). Perna likewise sent the artist Tobias Stimmer to Como to copy the portraits in 1569-1570, for this and other editions of Giovio's Elogia published by Perna (in 1571) and Heinrich Petri.


Johann Graf von Manderscheid, bishop of Strassburg 1569-1592, large illuminated armorial bound at front; Jesuit College of Molsheim (near Strassburg), inscription on title-page (founded in 1580, presumably by von Manderscheid, and dissolved in 1765)


VD16 G2066; Perini, La vita e i tempi di Pietro Perna (2002), catalogue no. 250