A Treatise of Painting
A Treatise of Painting A Treatise of Painting A Treatise of Painting
London: Printed for J.Senex and W.Taylor. 1721.

First English edition. 8vo. 200x120mm. pp. [16], 189, [19 index and adverts]. Engraved frontispiece and thirty-five engraved plates of which four are folding. Contemporary speckled calf, boards worn in places and corners bumped and a little worn. Rebacked in twentieth century with tan calf, five raised bands, red morocco label lettered in gilt. Title page printed in black and red. Internally very good with occasional slight marking and the plates are in excellent condition.
Leonardo began making notes on painting during his first Milan when he painted The Last Supper, the Virgin of the Rocks and the Sala delle Asse in the Sforza Castle. He continued to record his theories and practical observations on painting for the rest of his life. His manuscripts were left to his heir Francesco Melzi who began the process of collecting Leonardo's scattered writings on art into one work. They were not printed and, after Melzi's death, his collection of Leonardo's notebooks was dispersed. In 1651, those of Leonardo's manuscripts on painting as were known to exist were published in Italian and French with this English translation appearing seventy years later. For the first time, the profound and radical ideas of the greatest mind of the Renaissance were available to ordinary artists.