The Thomas Vroom collection put in perspective

On 25 November 2019, by Anne Doridou-Heim

This group embodying the birth of modern architecture, no less, was greeted with honour beneath Drouot's dome.

Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), De re ædificatoria, Florence, Nicolaus Laurentius Alamanus, 1485, in-folio.
Result: €226,367

The sale of this remarkable library, entitled "A history of perspective", totalled €2,386,455 thanks to numerous glowing results, despite the fact that the first treatise on the subject printed in Europe, written by Jean Pèlerin, found no buyer. A serious theme providing material for books assiduously collected by Thomas Vroom. A 1485 editio princeps of Alberti's De re ædificatoria, dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici, inspired a battled up to €226,367. This, in a nutshell, was the first Renaissance treatise on architecture, and also the first dated book of architecture ever printed, earning the author a place alongside Vitruvius, Euclid and Archimedes. There was also a book of optics by a forerunner of the experimental scientific method, Ibn al-Haytham, aka Alhazen (€50,550), a magnificent manuscript illustrated with 105 wash drawings, reproducing the third part of a text that probably remained unpublished, drafted by a Ghent cabinetmaker, Franciscus Bernardus Coppens (€42,900) and a first edition of one of the most spectacular illustrated books of the German Renaissance, Perspectiva corporum regularium by Wenzel Jamnitzer (1508-1585). Rightly considered one of the most gifted goldsmiths of his time, he was also fascinated by the art of perspective, and this treatise is particularly famous for its illustrations of polyhedra (€82,144). €73,898 – a slightly lower result for an equally important subject – went to a first edition of Johannes Kepler's Harmonices mundi libri V (1571-1630). With this comprehensive survey published in 1619 and the Astronomia nova of 1609, the famous 17th-century astronomer established the three laws describing the main properties of planetary motion, which formed the basis for Newton's theory of gravitation. This extraordinary journey through the erudition of past centuries ended with the €170,606 fetched by the first edition of Abelard of Bath's Latin translation of Euclid's Elements (ca. 300 BC): the earliest known example of an axiomatic, systematic treatment of geometry.
 

 
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