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La Gerusalemme Liberata Di Torquato Tasso Con Le Figure Di Giambattista Piazzetta. Alla Sacra Maestà Di Maria Teresa D'Austria Regina D'Ungheria, E Di Boemia, ec.

Torquato Tasso

RA Collection: Book

Record number




In Venezia,: MDCCXLV., Stampata Da Giambatista Albrizzi Q. Girol. - Con Privilegio Dell'Eccellentissimo Senato.

Physical Description

[24]p., 253 [i.e. 255], [1] f., frontis., port., [2] pl.: illus.; 456 mm.

General Note

There is no folio numbered 14 (but no break in the sequence of numbered verses); conversely there are three unnumbered folios, between those numbered 126 and 127, 137 and 138, 172 and 173. Folio 237 is misnumbered as '277'. The plates carry no plate numbers. One is bound in between folios 103 and 104; the other, after folio [254].


[Half-t., frontis., t.p., port., dedic., privilege] - Catalogo Degli Associati - Allegoria Del Poema - [Text and plates].

Responsibility Note

The allegorical frontispiece and the two plates are unsigned. The dedicatee's portrait is signed as drawn by Io. Bapta. Piazzetta and engraved by Felix Polanzani.

Two of the in-text illustrations are signed as designed by 'Piazzeta', and one as engraved by 'Schedl'.

The book is dedicated by the printer Giovambatista Albrizzi to Empress Maria Teresa of Austria.


A. Mariuz, 'La Gerusalemme Liberata di Torquato Tasso con le figure di Giambattista Piazzetta', in Libro e incisione a Venezia e nel Veneto nei secoli XVII e XVIII (1988), p.33-60; Eleanor M. Garvey in Vision of a collector: the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection in the Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division (1991), no. 52, pp.209-211. G. Knox, Giambattista Piazzetta (1992); G. Knox, G.B. Piazzetta: a tercentenary exhibition of drawings, prints and books (1983). S. Boorsch, Venetian Prints And Books In The Age Of Tiepolo [exhibition catalogue] (1997).

Summary Note

Tasso's poem is a fictional narrative of Godfrey of Bouillon's exploits as leader of the first Crusade at the end of the 11th century. This illustrated version is the best-known of some sixty books decorated by Piazzetta for Albrizzi.

The frontispiece is an allegory showing Apollo and the Muses with Fame carrying a portrait of Tasso. The portrait shows the dedicatee, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, as a young woman; a later state has this portrait altered to show her in middle-age. The first of the two plates shows shepherds with their flock; the second, two figures - thought to be portraits of Piazzetta and Albrizzi - before herdsmen, cattle and a dog. Each canto of the poem begins with a cartouche which contains the 'Argomento' and loosely illustrates the narrative. Each also has a decorated initial; and most finish with a tailpiece. The title-page vignette shows a personification of Venice. The tail-piece of the last canto records the price of the work: 'Il suo prezzo è di Zecchini otto'. The RA copy appears to represent a variant issue without the full-page frontispieces to each canto. In this production letterpress and illustrations are well matched. The spaciously set types, in D.B. Updike's view, 'play up manfully to the gorgeous designs'.


Purchased from Francesco Sastres for £3 3s. on 19 April 1788 (see his invoice of that date 'for books sent to Mr. Wilton for the Royal Academy').

Binding Note

Contemporary vellum; spine lettered 'Tasso Gerusalem Liberata'.

Name as Subject


Western Europeans - Crusades - Wars - Christians - Muslims - Palestine - Israel - Jerusalem - History - 11th century
Poetry, Italian - Romances, Italian - Epic poetry, Italian - Narrative poetry, Italian - Italy - 16th century
Narrative art - Italy - Venice - 18th century - Rococo
Pictorial works - Illustrated books - Italy - 18th century