On February 20th 2018, Sotheby’s Milan will offer up for sale the library of Sergio Rossetti, a Milanese collector, connoisseur and bibliophile. He dedicated the vast majority of his studies and his collecting to the city of Rome.
His library illustrates all the aspects of art, archeology, architecture and costume in the Italian capital from the early 15th century to the 19th century.
The collection also features the great classic works on Roman architecture, from Fontana to Borromini and Palladio.
The library includes a large number of well-preserved items, such as Carlo Fontana’s Templum Vaticanum et ipsius origo.., Rome, 1694. Thanks to its precise iconography and detailed descriptions it is considered the most accurate and exhaustive work about the Vatican Basilica and its construction (79 tables engraved by Alessandro Specchi from Fontana’s drawings), est. ??10.000-15.000. In addition, two books by Francesco Borromini, Rome, 1720-1725, Opera cavata dai suoi originali (both of them feature the architect’s portrait) est. ??5.000-7.000, and Andrea Pozzo’s Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum..,1693, enriched with some magnificent engravings, among them the plate with the vault of the Church of Sant’Ignazio in Rome, est. ??2.000-3.000.
The sale also includes the first edition of Obeliscus Pamphilius, hoc est, interpretatio nova.., 1650, executed by the great erudite jesuit Athanasius Kircher, in which he presents his theories about the translation of hieroglyphics; the book is accompanied by several illustrations concerning Egyptian mythology. Besides, this work was commissioned by Pope Innocenzo X in order to carry out the restoration of the obelisk by Bernini: it was placed soon after in the middle of Piazza Navona, opposite Palazzo Pamphili, est. ??3.000-4.000.
The renowed seventeenth-century printer and engraver Giacomo Lauro produced Antiquae Urbis splendor, hoc est, praecipua eiusdem templa, amphitheatra, theatra, circi, naumachiae.., followed by plates and texts, 1637, here a magnificent morocco binding with the arms of Urban VIII Barberini, est. ??4.000-6.000.
In the works dedicated to Roman maps, it is worth mentioning Giovanni Battista Nolli, Nuova pianta di Roma, 1748, Rome, with an engraved plate depicting the city of Rome in its entirety; this first edition is rare, est. ??4.000-6.000.
Seventeenth-century Rome is magnificently illustrated through the engraved plates of the well-known Palazzi di Roma de’ più celebri architetti..,by Pietro Ferrerio (1655-1670), and Nuovi disegni delle architetture e piante dei palazzi di Roma de’ più celebri architetti.., by Giovanni Battista Falda, est. ??3.000-4.000.
Valuable books by the noted engraver and architect of the 18th century Giovanni Battista Piranesi will be offered to auction; among them, the renowed Della magnificenza ed architettura de’ Romani.., 1761, (est. ??5.000-7.000), first edition, Antichità romane de’ tempi della Repubblica e de’ grandi imperatori..,1748, (est. ??4.000-6.000), enriched with detailed plates, and the first edition of the impressive and rare work on Campo Marzio: Il Campo Marzio dell’antica Roma, Rome, 1762, est. ??10.000-15.000.
The library also features one of the most relevant works about eighteenth-century civil engineering, illustrated in great detail across 54 plates: the Castelli e ponti con alcune ingegnose pratiche del trasporto dell’obelisco Vaticano…by Nicola Zabaglia, Roma, 1743, est. ??2.500-3.000.
Next, the first editions of five books of views of Rome by Giuseppe Vasi Delle Magnificenze di Roma antica e moderna, Rome, 1747-1761, est. ??8.000-12.000.
The library of Sergio Rossetti is rich in curiosities about Rome and includes, moreover, the most complete series of Italian and foreign guides to Rome from the 16th century to the 19th century.