Dante ALIGHIERI (1265-1321) – Alessandro VELLUTELLO : LA COMEDIA, Venice, Francesco Marcolini, June 1544


La Comedia.

Venice: Francesco Marcolini, June 1544

In-4to (226 x 152mm); 441 leaves, italic type, roman type for title, headings and headlines, text with commentary surrounding, shoulder notes in the prefatory matter, initial spaces with printed guide-letter, 87 woodcut illustrations, including 2 repetitions and 3 full-page blocks marking the opening of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Binding in later vellum, spine titled in manuscript.  2pp of bibliographic notes on 2ff bound at rear.



First edition with the commentary by Alessandro Vellutello and first use of this influential series of woodcuts.
The work of Vellutello was the first commentary on the Comedy of the XVI century, challenging the authority of Landino in proposing an approach less allegorical and more inclined to facilitate the reader.
Marcolini’s illustration surpasses the masterful one of 1491 because the woodcuts are “an extension of the commentary, a more instructive form of illustration'”. These woodcuts reappeared in the Sessa editions of 1564, 1578 and 1596, while 79 of the 85 original blocks were further used in 1696 in Dante Alighieri’s Compendium of Comedia (Venice: Albrizzi). They were also widely copied: for example in Lyon by Rouillé in 1551 and in Venice by Morando in 1554.

Bibliography: Adams D94; Mortimer Italian, 146; Sander 2328; Essling I:2, i, 545; Brunet II, 503 (‘une des meilleures éditions anciennes de Dante’).

Additional information






Arrigoni de Treviglio (1789; signature on B3r)