[Blue paper] Davidico, Lorenzo (1513-1574). Columba animae...Milan, Vincenzo Girardoni, 1562.

[Blue paper] Davidico, Lorenzo (1513-1574). Columba animae...Milan, Vincenzo Girardoni, 1562.

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Davidico, Lorenzo (1513-1574).

Columba animae... Quae in hoc opere continentur. De Columba animae in Deo proficientis, De congrua gratioris nominis electione, De mira summi Pontificis dignitate. 

Milan, Vincenzo Girardoni, 1562.

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Blue paper used by a Milanese printer

Davidico, Lorenzo (1513-1574).

Columba animae... Quae in hoc opere continentur. De Columba animae in Deo proficientis, De congrua gratioris nominis electione, De mira summi Pontificis dignitate. Milan, Vincenzo Girardoni, 1562.

4° (252x182 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-N4. [2], 50 leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut arms of Pope Pius IV on the title-page. Woodcut vignettes on fols. A1v, F2r, and I4v. Numerous woodcut animated and decorated initials. Eighteenth-century marbled calf, covers within a gilt chain border. Smooth spine, richly gilt tooled with leafy pomegranate and volutes, title in gilt lettering. Marbled pastedowns. Very good copy, title-page remargined to the outer and lower sides, without any loss.

Provenance: 'D. Petrucci' and 'N. Lagomaggiore' (ownership inscriptions on the verso of the front flyleaf); Aldo Ravà (1879-1923; ex-libris on the front pasteboard).

A rare edition, and the only known copy printed on blue paper, of this mystical work by the enigmatic preacher Paolo Lorenzo Castellino from Castelnovetto (Vercelli), known by the name of Lorenzo Davidico, a disciple of Battista da Crema. Davidico was involved in an interesting and complex inquisitorial case, to which the Columba animae and its mystic content are a striking testimony.

In 1555, Davidico was imprisoned on the charge of curses and sodomy, but “his repeated and exaggerated declarations of orthodoxy and his violent (thought not particularly original) attacks on the Lutheran heresy [...] procured for him not only 'absolution' for his writings but also the glories of Counter-Reformation spirituality” (G. Caravale, Forbidden prayer, p. 51). In fact, despite repeated attempts to incriminate him, the Roman Inquisition failed to find any trace of heresy in his books, and even given his long stay in prison, Davidico remained untouched by censorship.

The Columba animae is dedicated to Pope Pius IV and is Davidico's last work to appear in print. It also contains – as a statement of his probity and righteousness – his spiritual testament, written on 30 July 1560 in Morbegno, in the low Valtellina Valley.

M. Firpo, Nel labirinto del mondo. Lorenzo Davidico tra santi, eretici, inquisitori, Firenze 1992; D. Marcatto, Il processo inquisitoriale di Lorenzo Davidico (1555-1560), Firenze 1992; G. Caravale, Forbidden Prayer, Farnham 2011, pp. 51-54; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 129.

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