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De arte gymnastica

De arte gymnastica - plate of exercises


Girolamo Mercuriale.Venice: apud Ivntas, 1573. Gift of M. Dana Emmons.



De Arte Gymnastica was the first, and highly influential, book on physical culture and its importance for good health. The book was the collaborative project of a prominent physician, Girolamo Mercuriale (1530-1606), who supplied the text, and an artist, Pirro Ligorio (ca. 1510-1583), who executed the numerous woodcuts. It presents an account of the physical exercises that were practiced in the ancient world, and is a prime example of the creative use Renaissance humanists made of the legacy of the classical world. The remarkable quality of Ligorio's woodcuts makes this an extraordinarily beautiful book, as well as an historically important one.



De arte gymnastica - closed view

The book is bound in a contemporary soft vellum binding that has cracked along the spine and at the hinges. The restoration work will repair the damaged vellum and strengthen and tighten the hinges that attach the front and back boards to the spine.



 

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