Raphael’s Letter to Leo X, 1519

Discorso letto alla Reale Accademia Fiorentina…; [added title-page]: Congettura che una lettera creduta di Baldessar Castiglione sia di Raffaello d’Urbino.

1 p.l., 118 pp. 8vo (215 x 150 mm.), cont. blue semi-stiff paper wrappers (spine a bit worn). [From the added title-page]: Firenze: Brazzini, 1799.

First edition; a wide-margined copy of Francesconi’s important study in which he attributes the authorship of a famous letter, apparently printed here for the first time, to Raphael. The respected Renaissance scholar John Shearman writes: “The case for Raphael’s authorship still rests chiefly upon the arguments produced by Francesconi in 1799 and Visconti in 1833, that is to say upon the consistency between [the letter’s] description of a project for the graphic reconstruction of ancient Rome and the methods and ambitions known from other sources to have been Raphael’s.”–Master Drawings, Summer 1977, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 137-38.

The letter, addressed to Pope Leo X, discusses the need to record Rome’s antiquities. Francesconi (1761-1835), a scientist and great bibliophile, investigated this letter’s authorship, which many believe to have been written in large part by Castiglione. Francesconi’s lecture, read at the Reale Accademia Fiorentina on 4 July 1799, is found at the beginning of the book, and the text of the letter is reproduced on pp. 49-74.

A nice copy of this rare study. We locate only three examples in North America.

❧ Cicognara 1264.

Price: $650.00

Item ID: 7321

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