Description

    "One of the Earliest Illustrated Works on Physiognomy"

    Giovanni Battista della Porta. De Humana Physiogomonia Libri IIII. Vico Equense: Joseph (Giuseppe) Cacchi, 1586. First edition. Folio. **2, A-2L4. (2), 272 (265 and 272 mis-paginated as one another). Five full page plates (portrait, woman and man human form, both repeated). Numerous engraved illustrations. Contemporary limp vellum, worn with wrinkles and tear at top of back board. First third of book with dampstains to upper corner, few stains to lower margins. Some corners worn. Q1 lower corn torn off, no affect. Tears to top of C3, few other edge tears, no affect. Small repair to inner margin Q4, no affect. 2B2 small repair. Still a very good copy overall. From the Krown and Spellman Collection.

    More Information:

    "One of the earliest illustrated works on physiognomy, and of considerable influence on succeeding generations of scientists including Lavater. Joseph Cacchi was the first printer at Voc Equesne." - Garrison-Morton, 150.

    "Porta's system . . . leads him constantly to conclusions of analogies between plants, animals and men. Similar humours are found in various apparently unrelated organisms. Plants and animals that correspond in shape are interrelated. A leaf formed like a stag horn shares the character of the deer. The horse is a noble animal, therefore it is a sign of nobility to walk erect with the head held high. Men who resemble a donkey are like that animal: timid, stupid, nervous. He who looks like an ostrich is akin to it in character: he is timid, elegant, vicious, stolid. A man who reminds us of a swine is a swine, eating greedily and having all the other characteristics, such as rudeness, irascibility, lack of discipline, sordidness, lack of intelligence [and] modesty. In a similar way, men who look like ravens are impudent; those who resemble oxen are stubborn, lazy, irascible; men who have lips shaped like those of a lion are hearty, magnanimous, courageous; others who make us think of a ram are timid, malicious and humble. When practicing medicine, Porta had many occasions to observe his patients, and to study their character and complexion; the results of this studious inquiry are laid down in his book." - Seligmann, History of Magic, 319. 

    Marshall II: 637. BM STC (Ital): 536. Manzi 116. Durling 3720. Osler 3714. Mortimer 398. Occult. Physiognomy. Illustrated. Science. Animals. Anthropolgy.





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    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    8th Wednesday
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