De Animalibus Insectis. Libri septem.
Eur 3,900 / USD 4,300
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Bononiae, apud C. Ferronium, 1638. Folio (355 x 235mm). pp. (8), 767, (1), (44), with engraved title and about 700 woodcuts. Contemporary calf, richly gilt decorated spine in 7 compartments (old repair to hinges).
The first work of literature in the world dealing with insects
"The first work of literature in the world dealing with insects, thus finally establishing entomology, and especially systematic entomology as a science. Objects from this collection were taken as illustrations; these recognizable, well-cut wood engravings, though rather primitive, were numerous. They contained the first known dichotomic key for determination of the higher groups, which are all morphologically defined... A special chapter was devoted to the morphology of the insect body. Metamorphosis and reproduction has been described excellently and supplemented with notes... The abundance of species of this book, mainly relating to the fauna of northern Italy, is astonishingly high; for instance 81 different species of Lepidoptera are delineated. In this volume the total literature up to his day was used by Aldrovandi almost to exhaustion" (Smith, R.F. History of entomology pp. 85-86). Aldrovandi's complete natural history works consist of 11 works, he spent 45 years amassing the material. The volumes on birds and the present volume on insects were completed by himself, the others by his pupils. The woodcuts of the insects are of great beauty and accuracy. "Although Aldrovandi is not identified with any revolutionary discoveries, his work as a teacher and as the author of volumes that constitute an irreplaceable cultural patrimony earns him a place among the fathers of modern science" (D.S.B. I, p. 110). The first edition was published in 1602 in Bologna, the present copy is the second edition. A fine copy.
Nissen ZBI, 67.