"...Ringratio infinite volte [messer] Anto Thebaldo de le fraterne et amorevoli admonitioni et le excuse, come son soverchie, che come V.S. sa peró mandai queste mie ineptie in Roma, per intender il parere deli amici et de tali amici mi son piaciute due cose, l’una che vedo che va per la via che vo io, benche più cautamte et con più felice corso. L’altra che non solo riprende, ma pensa ali remedii, che anchora non so ha fatto alcuno…"
6 pages, folio (c.285 x 215mm.), closely written, possibly a retained copy made directly from the autograph, later pencil pagination, remains of stitching, [probably Naples, c.1521], a few tiny perforations from oxidation of the ink, staining to margins
This copy could possibly have been made at the time and directly from the original, so that Sannazaro had a record of his lengthy literary arguments; these cover seven pages in the autograph manuscript (now British Library Add Ms 12058, ff.1-4), and twice that in modern printed editions. Certain small additions, which in the autograph are inserted between the lines, are in this manuscript mostly integrated into the continuous text; however, not all: one is omitted and there are two passages, one nineteen words long, that are also additions here. Possibly, Sannazaro only added them to his autograph after this manuscript had already been copied from it. The humanistic hand is quite similar to Sannazaro's own and might well be that of a pupil or relative.
De partu Virginis is a Latin poem in hexameters overtly inspired by Virgil, fusing classical epic poetry with a biblical episode, in this case the birth of Christ. The poem was published in 1526 and again by Aldus in 1528, but, as the author points out, it circulated in manuscript well before that. Sannazaro states in this letter that the poem was the result of more than thirty-eight years of study, and it is characteristic of the self-conscious intellectualism of his milieu that he feels compelled to explain and justify his art. Sannazaro’s comment on Bembo's recent retirement dates the letter to 1521 and is the last and longest of his letters to Antonio Seripando (1476-1531), secretary to Cardinal Luigi d'Aragona. Sannazaro's academic name was "Actius Syncerus", and he frequently signs himself "Syncerus tuus" as here: see also the letters sold at Sotheby's on 25 June 1968 (Phillipps Collection), lot 884, now at the Morgan Library and Museum.
Sotheby's is happy to acknowledge the advice of Carlo Caruso and Brian Richardson in preparing this description.
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