From the 1759 Rime e Lettere di Veronica Gambara
On the Illustrations
This is one of three full-page illustrations which appear in Rizzardi's magnificent mid-18th century edition of Gambara's poetry and letters.
The drawing of Gambara in the act of writing and the frontispiece to the edition of Apollo and the Muses taking her to the Elysian Fields are were engraved by Domenico Cagnoni after the designs of Francesco Savani.1 Half-, quarter, and third-size rubrics or vignettes and colophons are scattered throughout the edition. One of the most interesting appears in the center of the title page. We see at a distance on a grassy meadow what looks like the top of a modest house; this building may be intended to allude to Gambara's villa (her "casino"). In the front of the drawing is a porcupine over whom in a banner the words "non solum nobis" appear. The whole is framed by vine leaves, grapes and branches in an 18th century picturesque style.
- The frontispiece to the edition shows a drawing of Apollo and the Muses leading Gambara into the Elysian Fields. Underneath an image of Pegasus in the sky is a banner whose words allude to the following lines about Gambara in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso:
"I can see 'Mamma Beatrice' out on the tip of the pier with Ginevra and other ladies from Correggio. With them is Veronica Gambara, the darling of Phoebus and the Muses." (Orlando Furioso, 46:3, trans. Guido Waldman)
- The second full-page illustration is a line drawing of Gambara's face and upper body inside a oval. This portrait has been reprinted a number of times and appears on the cover of Bullock's 1996 edition of the Rime. In Rizzardi's 1759 edition, the drawing prefaces Zamboni's life of Gambara.
- The third full-page illustration (reproduced above) is of Gambara as a learned woman and widow. It prefaces the second part of the book where we find Gambara's letters. The lines on top are those she chose to have over her threshold from Virgil's Aeneid about Dido.
For he who first had joined me to himself
has carried off my love, and may he keep it
and be its guardian within the grave."
(Aeneid, Bk 4, trans. Allen Mandelbaum)
1 See Ugo Vaglia, "La Fortuna di Veronica Gambara nel Settecento Bresciano," pp. 183-92, in Cesare Bozzetti, Pietro Gibellini, and Ennio Sandal, edd., Veronica Gambara e la Poesia del Suo Tempo Nell'Italia Settentrionale, Atti de Convegno, Brescia-Corregio, 17-19 ottobre 1985 (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1985).
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Page Last Updated: 15 March 2004