Quaestiones definitae ex triplici philosophia, rationali, naturali, morali, in Parmensi Academia publice triduum disputatae

Autore: FARNESE, Ottavio (1598-1643)

Tipografo: Anteo Viotti

Dati tipografici: Parma, 1613

Formato: in folio

“A delightful and technically outstanding specimen of calligraphy” (Besterman)


Folio (338x233 mm). [8], 374 [i.e. 372], [8, of which the last 2 are blank] pp. and 1 large engraved folding plate (596x448 mm). Collation: +4 A-Y8 Z10 Aa4. Leaf Aa4 is a blank. With a beautiful engraved title page by Francesco Villamena after Malosso da Cremona (aka G.B. Trotti) and 348 woodcut calligraphic illustrations in text by A. Ferrari after G.F. Brondoli (both names appear at l. A1): the illustrations, placed as head- and tail-pieces, are made of intertwined lines which combine to form human figures, animals, plants, musical instruments, amphorae, crowns, and various decorations. Printer's device at the end. Contemporary light yellow flexible vellum, traces of silk ties (a bit worn in places). Some browning and foxing, tear repaired to the folding plate. A very good, genuine copy in its original binding.

FIRST EDITION, dedicated to Pope Paul V, of this monumental work, divided into three parts (rational, natural and moral philosophy), in which 2370 philosophical issues are discussed by Ottavio Farnese, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Parma Ranuccio I, who was only fifteen years old at the time.

The theses contained in the books were publicly debated in the Cathedral of Parma between 16 and 17 June 1613, arousing great acclaim in the city and throughout Italy. A sort of academic encyclopaedia on philosophy, the work was supported by the author's teachers: M. Bettini, O. Pallavicini, D. Tamburini, V. Ballarino, G.B. Trotti, and G.F. Brondoli.

Regarded with suspicion by his father who, after the birth of his first legitimate healthy son, revoked the feudal titles previously granted to Ottavio, the latter organized a plot against the duke, after which he was arrested while attempting to escape, and subsequently imprisoned. Ottavio died in 1643 after having spent the last twenty years of his life in detention (cf. D.B.I., s.v.).

The large folded table, which is not present in all copies, shows an arch bearing the pope's arms at the top and all around statues celebrating the power (temporal and spiritual) and the virtues of the dedicatee.

“This very delightful and technically outstanding specimen of calligraphy appears to be unknown to the bibliographers (Th. Besterman, Old Art Books, pp. 37-38).

Catalogo unico, IT\ICCU\BVEE\034921; Libreria Vinciana, 2179.