New Library acquisition: Epistole et euangeli et letioni volgari in lingua toscana

Author: Tracy Bergstrom

Epistole Featured Cropped

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has recently acquired the following item:

EpistoleEpistole et euangeli et letioni volgari in lingua toscana, 1546

Epistole et euangeli et letioni volgari in lingua toscana. Florence: Bernardo Giunta, 1546.

In 1495, the Florentine publisher Piero Pacini da Pescia produced a vernacular edition of liturgical readings from the epistles and the gospels that is considered one of the finest examples of 15th century illustrated printing. This important work survives in only two known copies, now housed at the Library of Congress and the Biblioteca Corsiniana in Rome.

Beginning with this 1546 edition, the Giunta printers of Florence republished various editions of liturgical readings utilizing the same woodblocks originally produced for Piero Pacini. This edition is embellished with 151 woodcuts, through which the influence of artists including Donatello and Domenico Ghirlandaio is visible. Because of the rarity and significance of the 1495 Pacini edition, the Giunta editions are important alternate sources for the images.

With the acquisition of this copy, Rare Books and Special Collections is the only holder in the United States of a copy from the seminal 1546 edition. Only two other copies from this edition are known, now found at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome.