Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana
MS Ricc. 2275, Dated 1630
373 numbered chapters without headings, 46 illustrations
Partial Table of Contents (chapters 1-135)
Precetti della pittura di Lionardo da Vinci
Florentine provenance, from the library of the Florentine artist Stefano della Bella (1610-1664)
Dated 1630, this manuscript belonged to the Florentine artist Stefano della Bella (1610-1664) who copied it from the early Florentine manuscript kept in the Gaddi library in Florence (FM2) and from at least another manuscript that derived from FM2 (such as F5). It is possible that della Bella brought his manuscript to Rome during one of his trips sponsored by Lorenzo dei Medici in the early 1630s and that F4, or a copy of it, was accessible to Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) at the very beginning of his editorial work on Leonardo's Treatise on painting.
The manuscript bears Stefano della Bella's monogram and the date 1630 on the title page, suggesting that the artist copied it from an early manuscript for his own use at the beginning of his artistic career (Barone 2001). The comparative analysis of text and image shows that the source of della Bella’s manuscript was the early Florentine manuscript kept in the library of Niccolo Gaddi (1537-1591) in Florence (FM2), or a copy of it (ie F5), rather than the manuscript M1 owned by Vincenzo Pinelli (1535-1601) in Milan as previously thought (Richter 1939, Steinitz 1958). It is known that the Gaddi library was open to the public of scholars and artists and that manuscripts were made available for copying. The first blank page of della Bella’s manuscript bears a watermark with an eight-ray sun inscribed in a circle, which is similar to a watermark present in other manuscripts associated with the library of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657), especially the Ganay manuscript (G1). This fact suggests that the Florentine manuscript F4 was available to Cassiano da Pozzo who may have used at the very beginning of his work on Leonardo’s Treatise on painting and who may have inserted the first blank page as a cover. The possible use of F4 by Cassiano dal Pozzo is suggested by the textual comparison with M3, Cassiano's master copy of Leonardo's Treatise on painting (see in particular the comparison of T1038, which is identical in the two manuscripts). Stefano della Bella himself lived in the Medici palace in Rome for six years in the early 1630s under the patronage of Lorenzo dei Medici. As a draftsman of Roman views and antiquities, Stefano della Bella may have had contact with Cassiano dal Pozzo and may have brought the manuscript to his attention. The drawings by Stefano della Bella in F4 were engraved by Giuseppe Fabrini in the eighteenth century and published by Francesco Fontani in Florence in 1792 for the book "Trattato della pittura di Lionardo da Vinci ridotto alla sua vera lezione sopra una copia a penna di mano di Stefano della Bella con le figure disegnate dal medesimo" (Florence 1792).
Owned by Stefano della Bella, the manuscript is undocumented until it was acquired by the English artist Thomas Patch (1725-1782), whose stamp appears on the frontispiece. It is documented in the Biblioteca Riccardiana from the late 18th century onward.
Fols. 1-94, 28.2 x 20.5 cm , in folio; fol. 1 "Precetti della Pittura di Lionardo da Vinci. Manoscritto originale di Stefanino della Bella come appare dalla cifra, e dalle sue figure"; fols. 2-43 Treatise on painting by Leonardo; fols. 44-46 "Parte seconda" (partial Table of Contents, chapters 1-135)
On the first blank page there is an eight-ray sun inscribed in a circle, which is similar to a watermark documented in the library of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) and which appears also in the Ganay manuscript (G1).
Migliore, Biblioteche Riccardiana e Moreniana in Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 1998, , p. 154; Stenitz, Treatise on Painting, 1958, p. 54 (B, 8); Kristeller, Iter italicum, , vol. 1, p.181; Richter, The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci, 1939, vol. 1, p. 7; Barone, “Illustrations of Figures by Nicolas Poussin and Stefano Della Bella in Leonardo's Trattato,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts CXXXVIII (2001), pp. 1-14; Sconza, La réception du Libro di pittura de Léonard de Vinci: de la mort de l’auteur à la publication du Trattato della pittura (Paris 1651). Ph.D. Diss. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle Paris III and Università degli Studi di Macerata, 2007.
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