Vita di S. Filippo Neri, incise in rame. Venice: [s.n.], 1757.
This entirely illustrated biography of Saint Filippo Neri (1515-1595), the founder of the Oratorian order, is the only edition of this suite of plates. Neri, an extremely popular confessor and spiritual advisor in Rome whose advice was sought by Popes and Cardinals as well as commoners, was venerated as a saint during his lifetime and was canonized in 1622. During an ecstatic religious experience at the time of his conversion, his heart was said to be miraculously enlarged. This extraordinary condition remained with him throughout his life, as seen in plate 12. The flaming heart seen at the top of the emblematic borders may also allude to this attribute.
The title page, frontispiece portrait, and 38 plates with explanatory text were engraved by Giuseppe Filosi, a book illustrator active in Venice from the 1740s to the 1760s. The images are based on illustrations by Giacomo Tanaglia. The title of the work is “spelled out” in historiated upper case letters, each depicting a virtue which is identified in a caption beneath each letter. The illustrations have been printed within engraved borders printed in sanguine. The single exception is the one border for the portrait printed in black. Representative of the lavishness of this production, two separate designs were executed for the emblematic borders: one includes nude cherubs while the other shows cherubs with small pieces of strategically placed cloth to maintain decorum.
Bridwell Library’s copy, one of only two in the United States printed on special large-paper sheets with red-colored borders, includes a buff paper band with contemporary manuscript inscriptions indicating the title of the work and the total number of plates included in the suite.
Jacques Honervogt. Solitudo sive vitae foeminarum anachoritarum. Paris: Chez Iollain, 1666.
[bound with:] Trophaeum vitae solitariae. Paris: Chez Iollain, [1654?].
[bound with:] Oraculum anachoreticum. [Paris]: Chez Iollain, [n.d., but c. 1654].
[bound with:] Monumenta Sa[n]ctioris philosophie quam severa Anachoretarum disciplina vitae et religio
docuit. [Paris]: Chez Iollain, [n.d., but c. 1654].
[bound with:] Solitudo sive vitae patrum eromicolarum per antiquissimum patrem D. Hieronimum eorundem
primorium olim conscripta: iam vero primum aeneis lamininis idque. Paris: Chez Iollain, [n.d., but
The five suites of engravings bound together in this single volume concern hermits and saints. Engraved and published in Paris in the mid-seventeenth century, the plates follow the works of Marten de Vos (1532-1603) which had been successfully issued half a century earlier by the Munich publishers Jan and Raphael Sadeler. Collectively the images present an encyclopedic vision of solitary spiritual life pursued by men and women. In Solitudo sive vitae foeminarum anachoritarum, a work devoted solely to women religious figures, is this engraving of Saint Colette (1381-1447), a native of Corbie in Picardy who established seventeen convents in her lifetime and also founded the Colettines, one of the major branches of the Poor Clares.
José María Montes de Oca. Vida de San Felipe de Jesus protomartir de Japon y patron de su patria Mexico. Mexico: Calle del Bautisterio de S. Catalina Mr. no. 3, 1801.
One of the
earliest entirely engraved Mexican books is this
illustrated life of San Felipe de Jesús (1572-1597), a
patron saint of Mexico City and the first saint of the Catholic Church
born in Mexico. The suite of plates was produced by José María
Montes de Oca, one of the premier Mexican artists, engravers, and book
illustrators of the late colonial period. Felipe de las Casas, the
subject of the book, had prepared for the priesthood before abandoning
his studies to pursue commercial enterprises in the East Indies.
Reconsidering his decision, he was sent from Manila to New Spain to
resume his orders and to become ordained.
Returning to the New World with other Franciscans, the ship landed in
Japan due to bad storms. The friars were accused of piracy and
espionage and were eventually crucified at Nagasaki. All of the
martyrs were beatified on September 14, 1627 and canonized on June 8,
Intended to be viewed in chronological order, the 29 plates in this volume provide the viewer with depictions of San Felipe de Jesús’s life prior to his arrival in Japan, his experiences in Japan through the time of his execution, and events after his death. The engraving on display shows the saint, venerated by allegorical female figures dressed in European and Native American costumes, situated upon the traditional symbol of Mexico: an eagle devouring a snake and perched upon a prickly pear cactus.
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