Round up of Italian publishers this season

Historical figures predominate, with archaeology close behind.



Italian bookshop shelves are bursting with new volumes, partly because so many famous cultural figures of the past celebrated their anniversaries last year. Emperor Frederick II and Saint Anthony of Padua, for example, were both born in 1194 and have been fêted by an extensive calendar of events 800 years on. Within the publishing sector, EDIZIONI DE LUCA have ensured themselves a monopoly on all publications relating to the saint. This series opens with the volume "La Basilica del Santo. Arte e Storia" (300 pages, 200 col. ill., 20 ill. b/w, L.30,000), including contributions from V. Gamboso, A. Vecchi, C. Bellinati, G. Bresciani Alvarez and L. Puppi. Another volume with contributions from several authors is "Catalogo del Museo Antoniano" (144 pages, 32 col. ill., 50 b/w, L.40,000), another detailed survey of works in the art gallery (currently closed to the public). L'EDITALIA, on the other hand, opts to mark the eight-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Holy Roman Emperor and has produced a large volume entitled "Federico II di Svevia-Stupor Mundi" (256 pages, 250 col. ill. And b/w, L.138,000), introduced by the famous medieval scholar Franco Cardini, with essays by eminent researchers.

Still on an historical theme, but this time within the field of archaeology, we will see the fifth volume of "Storia degli scavi di Ronia e notizie intorno le collezioni romani di antichità" (336 pages, 190 ill., L.140,000), published by QUASAR. This ambitious project will bring to light previously unpublished work by the prominent Roman archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani, active between 1605 and 1700. An as-sessment of current research into the topography of ancient Rome within the Aurelian walls, up to the seventh century AD, comes in the form of the impressive "Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae" (498 pages, 187 ill. L.240.000), volume 2, edited by Eva Margareta Steinby. This includes more than 2300 plates and focuses on completion followed by reconstruction, thus forcing a reconsideration of criteria established by Platner, Asby and Nash.

More archaeology comes under the imprint of L'ERMA DI BRETSCHNEIDER, "L'atleta di Fano" (184 pages, 116 ill., b/w, L.200,000) by Antonietta di Viacava, which concentrates on one of the rare bronze originals to have reached Italy from ancient Greece, perhaps the work of the Greek sculptor Lysippus, who cast some 1500 examples. "Excavations at La Giostra" (184 pages, 89 ill. b/w) by Melte Moltesen and J. Rasmus Brandt documents the discovery of a fortress built between the fourth and third centuries BC at the feet of the Albanian Hills in a position overlooking the Via Appia and thus constituting an excellent starting point for expeditions against those most implacable opponents of the Capitoline emperors, the Samnites.

Rome and the lessons we can learn from this great civilization forms the subject of INSTITUTO POLIGRAFICO E ZECCA DELLO STATO "Sectilia pavimenta di Villa Adri-ana" (296 pages, ill. b/w and col., L.170.000) by Federico Guidobaldi. This formidable scholarly tome about flooring examines the history of excavations within the Villa Adriana area and investigates the function of areas surrounding the floors. Building techniques are then reconstructed from this information.

Another Roman publisher, JANDI SAPI, adopts a philological approach in another of its monographic works about less well known personalities. This time it is the turn of "Cesare da Sesto (1477-1523)", by Marco Carminati. Publication of this book was originally planned for last spring. The text documents the life of this Lombard influenced by Leonardo who spent time in Rome, worked for Julius II in the Vatican, set up a workshop in Milan and then finally returned to the city of his origins. The volume also contains a detailed catalogue of paintings and drawings with a documentary appendix.

UGO BOZZI publishes a work entitled "Niccolò Maria Pallavicini. L'ascesa al tempio della Virtù attraverso il mecenatismo" (150 pages, 160 ill. col and b/w, L.230,000) by Stella Rudolph, chronicling Roman patronage from the late baroque period to the Rococo. The book traces the history of a famous collection built up by the eccentric and enormously wealthy marchese and banker. This was sought after in the eighteenth century by great English collectors and the enlightened sovereigns Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine II of Russia.

BULZONI continues its "Venezia Cinquecento" series by publishing the proceedings of a conference on Cima da Conegliano (October 1993). Twenty-two authors, including Peter Humphrey, Bernard Aikema, Augusto Gentili, Robert Echols, Mauro Lucco and Lionello Puppi, discuss current research into the painter, whose life and work is still shrouded in mystery.

Venice boasts a new publisher, CANAL & STAMPERIA EDITRICE, the result of a merger between Stamperia di Venezia and Canal. Their first publication has just arrived on the bookshelves. It is entitled "La Pala d'oro" and written by various authors (360 pages, ill. 231, col. 116, L.120,000): this sumptuous publication is illustrated with actual size colour photographs of all the enamels on this masterpiece of the Venetian goldsmith's art; a work of enormous scholarly value. It includes the text of a seminal 1965 publication, and was produced with the aid of a committee made up of Alessandro Bettagno, Ren-ato Polacco and Erich Steingräber.

In its "Libri illustrati" series, MARSILIO brings us "Storia di Ravenna IV. Dalla dominazione veneziana alla conquista francese" by Lucio Gambi (864 pages, ill. col and b/w, L.180,000). The author reassesses the period between 1509 and 1797, normally considered a period of decadence. The great changes, particularly in land-use, are described together with radical changes in landscape.

One particular aspect of applied art forms the subject of "Le stoffe dei veneziani. Storie, techniche e manifatture dal XIV al XIX secolo" by Doretta Davanzo Poli and Stefania Moronato (180 pages, ill. b/w and col., L.80,000). This book describes the various silk-producing corporations, from the "battiloro" to the "tiraoro" and the "filaoro". Manufacturing and dyeing methods are described, while gilded velvets and damasks are displayed in all their magnificence up to their re-invention for the modern age by the likes of Della Venezia, Fortuny, Bevilacqua and Rubelli.

L'ARSENALE concentrates on its "I Grandi libri" series, which includes a work devoted to exploring Venice: "Interni a Venezia" by Cesare Maria Cunaccia and Mark Edward Smith, introduction by Roberto de Feo (128 pages, ill. b/w and col., L.60,000). Smith's camera has peered inside palaces, churches and private houses not normally visible to the public. The photographs are arranged in chronological order: from the eleventh century to the best examples of contemporary architecture.

ELECTA accounts for the lion's share of publishing output in the Lombard capital Milan. Works include "Catalogo Generale delle opere di Fausto Melotti" (770 pages, ill, L.480,000). Archivio Melotti began this project in 1987 with the aim of bringing Melotti's work to wider public attention through systematic cataloguing of his output. The volume is edited by Germano Celant.

"La pittura bolognese del '700", edited by Adriano Cera (680pages, ill., L.360,000) is a photographic record designed for art historians to be published by LONGANESI at the end of 1994, together with their annual review "Arte all'incanto. Mercato eprezzi dell'arte e dell' antiquariato alle aste Finarte" (448 pages, ill., L.90,000), now in its thirteenth volume.

For the new year, MAZZOTTU will produce its "Catalogo generale dei dipinti del Museo Puskin di Mosca" (560 pages, ill., recommended price over L.100,000). This examines about 3000 works, including some not on public view.

A book published by RES RIZZOLI LIBRI is devoted to Rubens's "Storie de Maria de' Medici" (159 pages, ill., L.800,000). This is a reprint of a monograph published in 1969 by Jacques Thuillier and Jacques Foucart.

Another monograph republished twenty years on is "Gauguin. Noa-Noa" (159 pages, ill., L.800,000), about the French artist's stay in Polynesia.

FRANCO MARIA RICCI brings us a book about "William Larkin (1580/85-1619)" by Roy Strong, former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London (164 pages, ill., L.330,000). Larkin was a fashionable portrait painter in London during the time of James I.

Although Milan opts for general catalogues this year, Turin wanders from Donatello to Botta, Gombrich to Zeri, gardens to gardeners.

In its "Biblioteca di storia dell'arte" series, EINAUDI brings us the long awaited book by Enrico Castelnuovo entitled "Vetrate medioevali. Officine, tecniche, maestri". The author examines glass production in terms of historical development and theme. Relationship with other arts, technique, role of commissioning customers and the public, choice of symbols and layout are also discussed. Einaudi also brings us a bulky, systematic list of illustrations made for "Boccaccio" throughout Europe from the work's origins to the eighteenth century. Vittore Branca edited the work while the various sections on geographical area and period were produced by numerous historians of art and European literature. Branca himself was responsible for a section on Venice and E. Castelnuovo and M. Rossi produced a section on Tuscany while A. Griseri writes on the Baroque.

DE AGOSTINI aims for a wider audience with "Michelangelo e la Cappella Sistina" (1,024 pages, 2,000 ill., L.390,000). The three volumes in this work are devoted to documentation (conservation and Michelangelo's painting technique), photographs of the vault, and proceedings of a symposium on Michelangelo and the Sistine chapel held in Rome in 1990.

SEAT already includes several works on the history of art in its series "Territorio e società" and now brings us a New Year's treat: "Teatri greci e romani" by P. Ciancio Rossetto and G. Pisani Sartorio (3 vol., 1,520 pages, L.230,000). This work is a complete catalogue of ancient theatres in the Mediterranean basin, Great Britain and Afghanistan. "Giorno per giorno nella pittura", a complete collection of writings by Federico Zeri published by UMBERTO ALLEMANDI & C. is now back in the bookshops with a fourth volume devoted to Italian art of the sixteenth century and artists such as Giulio Ro-mano, Bronzino, Beccafumi and Veronese (336 pages, ill., L.170,000). On the theme of recent art, we are offered "Dizionario deqli scultori dell'Ottocento e del primo Novecento" by Alfonso Panzetta (2 vol., 532 pages, 862 ill. b/w, L.350,000). Now, four years after the first edition, this collection has grown to include 2400 artists who were active at the beginning of this century. A bibliography and more photographs are now included. In March we will also see a monograph on that most eclectic figure of Russian art "Jakov Cernihov" (336 pages, ill. b/w and col., L.140,000). The work examines his architectural projects from the time of Stalin, together with his achievements as painter, publisher and theoretician. In May, the ranks of books about gardens will be swelled by "I giardini Hanbury" by P. Gastaldo and P. Profumo (96 pages, ill., L.70,000). Photographs are used to document the history of this botanical garden created in Ventimiglia at the end of the nineteenth century. Again on the topic of gardening, this publisher also plans to bring us an Italian translation of a classic text by Russell Page entitled "The Education of a Gardener" (368 pages, ill., L.90,000). Another bilingual volume (English and Italian) is "The Chapel of Monte Tamaro" (166 pages, b/w and colour ill.). This illustrates plans by the well known Swiss architect Mario Botta for this chapel in Ticino, which is decorated with twenty-two panels by the Transavanguardia artist Enzo Cucchi. This month the dealers' catalogue range is increased by a book on an exhibition entitled "Thirty-one Flemish Painters" to be held in Otto Nauman's new New York gallery (until 1 March).

Moving further south, CENTRO DI in Florence will bring us in 1995 "Alla riscoperta di Piazza del Duomo. La Cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore" by Timothy Verdon; "La scultura in terracotta, tecniche e conservazione" by Opificio delle Pietre Dure; "I mobili di Palazzo Pitti. Il periodo mediceo" by A. González-Palacios, published jointly with Umberto Allemandi & C. SPES brings us "Botteghe di Mobilieri in Toscana. 1780-1900" by S. Chianugi (2 vol., 670 pages, L.300,000). These two volumes contain an unusually fine selection of photographs and writings taken from unpublished sample catalogues and designs. Book III, volume I of the "Vite del Vasari" is now ready and entitled "Vite del Quattrocento". Volume II entitled "Indice delle Vite del Quattrocento" is also ready (both L.90,000).

ELECTA NAPOLI devotes special attention to the city's museums. Guides to the "Museo Archeologico Nazionale", "Capodimonte", "Villa Pignatelli" and "Museo di San Martino" have been put on sale recently. Other guides entitled "Palazzo Reale di Napoli", "Palazzo Reale di Caserta" and "Museo duca di Martina" are being printed.

GRIMALDI EDITORE brings us "Vesuvio e Campi Flegrei. Due miti del Grand Tour nella grafica di tre secoli" (prints, drawings and watercolours from 1540 to 1876) by Lucio Fino. This exceptional catalogued collection is of enormous documentary value and draws on works kept in accessible private collections or published for the first time.

We end our Italian round-up with a trip to Palermo and the publisher ENZO SELLERIO, whose 1995 list includes "Palermo punica" (400 pages, b/w and col. ill., L.35,000) and "Cartografia generale di Segesta" by Rosalia Camerata Scovazzo and Vincenzo Cabianca (160 pages, b/w and col. ill., L.400,000).