Grimaldi, [Giacomo], Descrizione della Basilica Antica di S. Pietro in Vaticano Codice Barberini Latino 2733. Edizione e Note a Cura di Reto Niggl. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1972. Vol. XXXII of Codices e Vaticanis Selecti quam simillime expressi iussu Pauli PP.VI. Consilio et Opera Curatorum Bibliotecae Vaticanae. [xx; 563; indice 1 leaf]. Typus POLYGLOTTIS Vaticanis, MCMLXXII.
A large book, 41 cm x 21 cm, bound in beige cloth stamped with Vatican insignia, still encased in original paper slipcase, as issued. Spine slightly sun spotted, but otherwise, this copy is as new. A magnificent copy of the ur-text on the history of Old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Illustrated profusely and footnoted throughout, this is a vital text for art and architecture historians for the information provided by Giacomo Grimaldi, especially of the papal tombs in old St. Peter’s Basilica.
The 29th of May 1620, Grimaldi presented the manuscript to Pope Paul V in commemoration of the sixteenth anniversary of his papal coronation. Entitled Instrumenta authentica, the work won Grimaldi a pension of 50 scudi a year. The manuscript, once a one-volume work of more than 1,000 pages, is now in two volumes.
A fragment of the original binding is found in Volume I, which is bound in vellum with gold decoration of a dragon associated with the Barberini family. The division into two volumes took place in the Vatican and is recorded in the register of the Vatican’s conservation laboratory. Part I was completed on September 18, 1619 and Part II on May 15, 1620. Part II begins with the discoveries of the pagan and early Christian inscriptions discovered during the demolition. A list of the contemporary sources used by Grimaldi is given in the preface, as is a list of works cited, given in abbreviated form.