La Gerusalemme liberata
Torquato Tasso (1544-1595)
Parma, Bodoni, 1794. Demy 4to, Laid paper
Bodoni worked for a long time on this book, published in 1794, casting several sets of new typefaces that were used in four different editions: the first in two folio volumes; the second in three volumes in demy 4to, on vellum; a third in small folio and a fourth in quarto. Giuseppe Azara joked about this immense effort when he received the copy of the two folio volumes intended for him: 'These two volumes would be unique masterpieces if they didn’t have so many siblings of different sizes!’ In any case, Bodoni wished to begin his new series of Italian classics magnificently, with a dedication to the King of Spain and an extraordinary show of typographic skill and invention.