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Trattato Della Pittura Di Leonardo Da Vinci, Novamente dato in luce, con la vita dell'istesso autore, scritta Da Rafaelle Du Fresne. Si sono giunti i tre libri della pittura, & il trattato della statua di Leon Battista Alberti, con la vita del medesimo.

Leonardo da Vinci

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Trattato della pittura., 1651.]


In Parigi,: Appresso Giacomo Langlois, stampatore ordinario de rè Christianissimo, al monte S. Genovefa, dirimpetto alla fontana, all'insegna della Regina di pace., M. DC. LI. Con Privilegio Del Rè.

Physical Description

[18], 64, 63-112, [14], [14], 62 p., added angr. t.-pl. (incl. port.), [1] pl. (port.): illus.; 392 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Pages 105, 106 are misnumbered as 103, 104; the second p. 19 is misnumbered as 61. The second p. 41 has the page number printed upside-down.


[Dedic.] - [Dedic.] - Vita Di Lionardo - Trattato Della Pittura Di Lionardo - Indice De' Capitoli - [Dedic.] - Vita Di Leon Battista Alberti - [Dedic.] - Leon Battista Alberti Della Pittura - [Dedic.] - Leon Battista Alberti Della Statua.

Responsibility Note

The added engraved title-plate and the title-page vignette are signed as engraved by R. Lochon. The portrait of Alberti and all the illustrations are unsigned; but the illustrations of Leonardo's Trattato Della Pittura are the same as those used in the French translation of the treatise published by Langlois in the same year, where they are attributed to Poussin. J. Barone states that the engravings are by Lochon from drawings by Charles Errard after drawings by Poussin. Poussin in a letter to A. Bosse states that he was responsible for the human figures, and criticises Errard's handling of them (cf. A. Bosse, Traité des pratiques géométrales, Paris, 1665).

The work carries three dedications by Rafaelle Trichet Du Fresne: the first two, at the head of Leonardo's treatise, are to Queen Christina of Sweden and to Pietro Bourdelot; the third, at the head of Alberti's treatise, is to Carlo Errard. In addition Alberti's treatise on painting is preceded by Cosimo Bartoli's dedication to Giorgio Vasari, and his treatise on sculpture by Bartoli's dedication to Bartolomeo Ammannati.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard, I (1993), no. 95, p.262-4. J. Barone, 'Seventeenth-century illustrations for the chapters on motion in Leonardo's Trattato', in The rise of the image: essays on the history of the illustrated art book, ed. R. Palmer and T. Frangenberg (2003); C. Pedretti and C. Vecce, Leonardo da Vinci: Libro di pittura, 2 v. (1995); K.T. Steinitz, Leonardo da Vinci's 'Trattato della pittura': a bibliography (1958); L.B. Alberti, On painting and On sculpture, ed. C. Grayson (1972); Farago, Claire (Ed), Re-Reading Leonard: the treatise on painting across Europe, 1550-1900. Farnham: Ashgate, 2009. ISBN: 9780754665328

Summary Note

The so-called Trattato della pittura of Leonardo is a sixteenth-century selection from his manuscripts, possibly compiled by Francesco Melzi. The present publication is the first edition of the work.

In these writings Leonardo addresses questions of light, colour, motion, gesture and botany, but discusses mathematics and perspective only cursorily, and anatomy not at all. In passages relating to the 'paragone' or comparison of the arts, he argues the superiority of painting to other arts.

Alberti's De pictura, written first in Latin (1435) and afterwards in Italian (1436), was neither a history of painting nor a manual for practitioners but the first modern European theoretic work on the visual arts. It ranges over the topics of perspective, design and the education of the artist. Alberti's De statua addresses the question of how to design a statue in such a way that it may be realised on any scale.

Leonardo's Treatise with Poussin's illustrations was republished at Naples in 1733. In 1792 at Florence an edition with illustrations by another seventeenth-century artist - Stefano della Bella (1610-1664) - was published: the Trattato della pittura di Lionardo da Vinci ridotto alla sua vera lezione sopra una copia a penna di mano di Stefano della Bella con le figure disegnate dal medesimo. In the latter publication Della Bella's drawings, following the dynamic descriptions of Leonardo's text and vividly reproduced in aquatint, offer an interesting alternative to the more statuesque illustrations of Poussin / Errard.


Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

20th-century calf; spine gilt-tooled, and lettered,'Freart Parallele De L'Architecture'. Bound with Freart's Parallele De L'Architecture (1650) and Leonardo's Traitté De La Peinture (1651).


Painting - Sculpture - Painting, European - Sculpture, European - Theory - Italy - History - 15th century - Renaissance - Sources
Pictorial works - France - 17th century