Past Auction Highlight

Each month, we’ll be featuring an interesting antique item which appeared in one of our past auctions. This item has been sold.

This very rare First Edition, dated to 1599 and published in Vellum is complete with all 87 woodcuts and its original, large, exceedingly rare foldout woodcut illustration.

Written by Archange Tuccaro, this incredible and fascinating antique book comprises his monumental work on dance, acrobatics and exercise. Tuccaro’s illustrated work on acrobatics is widely recognized as one of the first tier illustrated books of the Renaissance.

The Trois Dialogues du Sr. Archange Tuccaro offers substantial details on theatrical dance during the late sixteenth century, and it represents the first printed work on floor exercises.

The text is divided into three “dialogues” set during the wedding festivities in Touraine in 1570: the first examines exercise as practiced in antiquity, the art of saltare and the importance of dance.

The second “dialogue” offers an in-depth description of acrobatic movements and is accompanied by a large number of skillfully-designed woodcuts showing trained acrobats performing leaps, somersaults, handstands, vaulting spins and twists, take-off and landing techniques.

The one woodcut that exceeds all others is the large folding plate showing an acrobat in three successive stages soaring through ten hoops held by ten men; the fold-out in this book measures 10 ¼” x 16 ½” inches and is in incredible condition, suffering only few minor tears. (The only other copy we were able to locate, priced at $45,000, contains this important woodcut but in lesser condition.) Woodcuts of this magnitude are exceptional in Renaissance works.

The third dialogue focuses on the medical benefits of formal exercise and its positive influence on human behavior and physical welfare – extremely ahead of its time!