566J Philippo Buonanni  or Bonanni (1638-1725)

Micrographia Curiosa sive Rerum Minutissimarum Observationes, quae ope Microscopii recognitae et expressae curiosorum Naturae Exploratorum utilitati proponuntur.     

Romæ, typis Antonii de Rubeis,1703     $4,000

Small Quarto: 23 x  15 cm. Signatures:   π1 a-m⁴ n⁶ .  (page count, 1 preliminary leaf, 106 pages frontispiece, 38 plates (some folded) 2 diagrams) First and only separate edition.  Bound in contemporary vellum with manuscript title at spine, light water stain at the inner margin, else in very good condition, with wide margins. Engraved frontispiece by Hubert after G.B. Leonardis. 

 Buonanni, a student of Athanasiuis Kircher, was likely the first to employ a microscope in the practice of medicine, in the Micrographia curiosa, he provides his observations on early microscopes. 

Initially, these microscopic observations formed the second part of the author’s Observationes circa vitia…, published in Rome in 1691 (cf. Pritzel, n°1394); This may be original pages of the 1691 edition with a  new title dated 1703.  This edition is very rare with only two copies are located by OCLC. 

Buonanni, one of the most learned Jesuits of his time, was a pupil of Athanasius Kircher, and succeeded his master as teacher of mathematics at the Collegium Romanum. This work is one of the earliest Italian treatises on microscopy. It contains interesting observations on early microscopes and a precise description of Buonanni’s own compound microscopes, which are illustrated on two plates. The rest of the plates show objects seen through the microscope, including several illustrations of insects. “The quality of his illustrations of various insects was excellent – particularly those of the fly, louse, mite, flea, and mosquito. Indeed, his drawings of the Culex pipiens (common house mosquito) are the best of the seventeenth century).”-D.S.B., II, p. 591.

Filippo Buonanni , was the librarian of the Roman College and archivist of the collection of antiquities bequeathed to this establishment by Athanasius Kircher. We owe him the invention of one of the first screw-barrel microscope horizontal microscopes, whose complex shape did not allow commercialization before the years 1820-1830

Sommervogel ii, 377-378; Garrison-Morton 264; Nissen ZBI 752; Norman 374.