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Estimate: $ 300 - $ 500
Elegantiores Statuae Antiquae, in Variis Romanorum Palatiis Asservatae.
Rome: Natalem Barbiellini, 1776.
Small folio, [pi]2, A6, 42 leaves of full-page engravings, half-title present, title-page within an engraved border, printed on heavy laid paper; bound in contemporary quarter sheep with decorative patterned paste-paper covered boards, spine lettered and tooled in gilt, minor wear, a few quires shaken partially loose; small early ink inscription rubbed out of front endleaf resulting in a minor paper loss, minimal foxing but overall a very clean and attractive copy; 11 x 8 in.
This work depicts forty-two famous ancient Roman statues, including Laocoön and His Sons, which was discovered in the underground remains of Nero's Domus Aureus in 1506. Although completely buried sometime during the fall of the Roman Empire, and not seen for centuries, its existence was known to 16th century readers. Pliny the Elder describes it in his Natural History as one of the great treasures of Rome. When discovered, Laocoön's right arm was missing; it was restored between 1520 and 1540 based on the design of Jacopo Sansovino, with an outstretched arm, as depicted in the present work. Michaelangelo believed the missing arm would be reflexed, a theory vindicated in 1906, when the actual arm was discovered. The statue has since been reunited with its original arm.