Folio album [304 x 207 mm] of 1 frontispiece and 22 woodcuts (out of 23, the plate entitled “Bragato” is missing) mounted into windows on laid paper leaves. The engravings measure 145 x 95 mm. 20th century binding in marbled paperboard.
A very rare and wonderful series of engravings devoted exclusively to the masquerades related to the Venetian carnival.
Colas 317 (23 plates); Lipperheide, 3168 (23 plates). Not in Cicognara, Ruggieri and Vinet.
Wearing fanciful masks was typical at these feasts, and it was meant to create equality between the social classes. These disguises were either figures such as the wild man or demon, or more caricatures of people from everyday life: peasants, masters, poets or musicians.
Francesco Bertelli was writer, editor and typographer in Padua in the first half of the seventeenth century.
Some of the plates were copied from his father Pietro’s Diversarum nationum habitus (1589).
Precious copy of this illustrated work of the utmost rarity dedicated to the costumes of the Venice carnival in the 17th century.
Very rare: only 3 copies have appeared at auction in at least 30 years, most recently at Christie’s NY, 12th June 2009 (containing 23 plates).
Plate counts vary from copy to copy, from 23 in the Colas and Lipperheide copies to the Correr Museum copy in Venice, which appears to be the most complete with 28 plates.
See article by Lina Padoan Urban (“Il Carnavale Veniziano, nelle Maschere incise da Francesco Bertelli,” in Il Polifilo, Milano, 1986) an attempt to determine the composition of this suite and the various prints.