Tractatus Physiologicus de Pulchritudine. Juxta ea quae de Sponsa in Canticis Canticorum mystice pronunciantur…. Ernestus Vaenius.
Tractatus Physiologicus de Pulchritudine. Juxta ea quae de Sponsa in Canticis Canticorum mystice pronunciantur…

Tractatus Physiologicus de Pulchritudine. Juxta ea quae de Sponsa in Canticis Canticorum mystice pronunciantur…

Bruxuellis: Typis Francisci Foppenens, 1662. 8o: *4A-D8 [$4 signed] pp. [8] 1-60 [1], ill.

First (and only) edition. 4 x 6 ¼ in. Bound in 19th century quarter red morocco by LP Noël. Gilt tooling to spine. marbled endpapers. Julia Parker Wightman bookplate. 28 small intaglio engravings throughout of female busts and animals’ heads, some two to a page, with line-engraved title vignette. Very good, with some rubbing to edges of boards. Foxing throughout. Item #6337

A physiological disquisition on the biblical Song of Songs, in which the ideal form of feminine beauty is described. The author uses from the mystical love poem to weave and argue his physiological conclusions, juxtaposing women with various animals, displaying the variations and vicissitudes of facial features, and adding his own verse commentary on the topic. A singular work of speculative physiognomy and biblical criticism.

Although physiognomy had been rejected by eminent scientists like Leonardo di Vinci, it continued to be widely practiced and taught by creative and idiosyncratic thinkers and writers like Sir Thomas Browne and Giambattista Della Porta (who also used the physiognomy of animals in his work) in the 17th century, and remained popular through the 19th century. This 1662 work is a particularly distinctive part of the psuedoscience’s corpus.

This copy features the bookplate of Julia Parker Wightman, daughter of prominent New York City physician Dr. Orrin Sage Wightman. Julia Wightman was known as an antiquarian and bookbinder with an impressive collection of rare books. Following her father’s death in 1965, she converted his offices in the family home into a bindery, where she created bindings and cases for some of the volumes in her collection. A member of the Hroswitha Club and Grolier Club, she bequeathed her collection to the Morgan Library and Museum upon her death in 1994.

Price: $3,500.00