97/ The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (VII): twentieth century illustrated editions of Aretino’s ‘Sonetti lussuriosi’

This collection of posts was launched greater than two years in the past (1) and knowledgeable in posts II, IV and V about Pietro Aretino, the infamous poet and writer of the Italian Renaissance (2). His ‘Sonetti lussuriosi’, allegedly first printed in 1527, have been illustrated with ‘I Modi’ (The Positions), a daring set of 16 engravings, depicting intercourse between man and girl for the primary time in Western fashionable historical past, and historically attributed to Giulio ROMANO and Marcantonio RAIMONDI, associates of the workshop of RAFFAELLO, the place “… eroticism was central to the considerations and practices…” (3). On this publish six editions of the 20th century are portrayed with illustrations slightly in contrast to these in earlier publications, a compilation actually not full (Fig.1).


                                               Fig.1 Six publications from 1925 to 1990.                                      



An unilingual version ‘Les sonnets luxurieux de l’Arétin was printed anonymously, however attrbuted to the Éditions Simon Kra, Paris (4).

It has an illustrated title web page (Fig.2), 32 nn. pp. textual content, 8 hand-coloured illustrations on plates, 16 hand-coloured head vignettes and 16 finish vignettes, and was printed in 250 copies.  

The elegant illustrations by an unknown artist are completely within the model of Artwork Deco and  no reference is made to ‘I Modi’ (Fig.3).

Figs. 2 & 3

1926 – 1933  Samuel Putnam edited The Works of ARETINO – LETTERS AND SONNETS translated into English from the unique Italian, with a vital and biographical essay, with illustrations by Marquis de Bayros’. 

The primary version, for subscribers solely, was restricted to 12 hundred and fifty numbered units of two volumes, printed in 1926 by Pascal Covici, Chicago. A second version was printed in 1933 by Covici-Friede, Inc., NY, however WorldCat refers additionally to an version of 1931 privately printed for Rarity Press, Inc., NY.

Putnam writes in an introductory observe: “To render Aretino’s Sonetti lussuriosi into English (…) with something approaching literalness could be to realize a piece of unredeemed pornography; (…) it’s not the tip sought right here…”. His model ‘The Sportive Sonnets’ “…is nearer the spirit of the unique than any of the alleged literal renderings…”. 

 The publication is illustrated with a small number of erotic works by the Austrian artist Franz von BAYROS (1899 – 1924), not designed for the Sonnets (Fig.4).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fig. 4

Nonetheless, it’s recognized that BAYROS, beneath his pseudonym Choisi-Nerac,  made 15 illustrations for 

‘Geschichten aus Aretino’ Nicht im Handel – Gedruckt für Heinrich Conrad und seine Freunde, Siena, 1907 

with a frontispiece that includes Aretino’s portrait after TIZIANO’s portray. The illustrations usually are not associated to the ‘Sonetti lussuriosi’ however to Aretino’s ‘Ragionamenti’ translated by Conrad.

   1931 ‘Pierre Aretin Les Sonnets luxurieux – Paris – MCMXXXI’. A bilingual version of 150 copies, 32 pp by an unknown writer in Paris. The 16 colored illustrations are attributed to André COLLOT (1897 – 1976) (Fig.5)

                                                        Fig. 5  Cowl web page and Sonnet nr XII

1947-1958  ‘Les Sonnets luxurieux –  traduits en francais et illustrés d’après les compositions de Jules Romainprinted in Paris, Aux dépens d’un novice [ Jacques Haumont], 1947, 350 copies, 24 pp not numbered.  

Fig. 6 Version 1958

Ten years later, an identical version with title XVI Sonnets Lvxvrievx de Mr Pierre Arétin’ was printed Au cercle du livre précieux, Paris, 1958, on 1500 copies and with double variety of pages (Fig. 6). 

The identical illustrations at the moment are framed and every poem printed on two pages. A Observe on the finish refers back to the engravings of RAIMONDI after the designs of ROMANO “these days completely extinct …and
changed by authentic drawings by certainly one of our greatest up to date painters”. The 16 illustrations are very modest (Fig.7). They are often attributed to Gabriel FOURNIER (1893 – 1963) (5).


Fig.7 Poem 4: left version 1947; proper version 1958


1948  Sonnets luxurieux de Pietro Aretino dit l’Arétin avec accompagnement de gravures au burin d’après la description des gravures de Giulio de Giannnuzzi, dit Jules Romain.  Aux dépens de quelques amateurs, 1948, printed throughout ‘ l’an II de l’ère atomique’ for the ‘Amis des Bibliophiles’, 250 copies (Fig.8).

Fig. 8
The engravings are made after the descriptions within the version of 1882 by Isidore Lisieux (see publish V), however these 16 illustrations attributed to Tavy NOTTON (1914 – 1977) are pretty authentic (Fig.9).

 Fig. 9

1990 L’ARÉTIN Les Sonnets luxurieux traduits et présentées par Paul Larivaille & Didier Ottinger. Dessins de Vincent Corpet. Deyrolle, Editeur Paris MCMXC’. 


It is a bilingual version, restricted to 1200 copies, of 117 pp with 17 designs (16 + an epilogue) in black-white of a semi- summary nature by the up to date artist Vincent CORPET (1958-) (Fig.10).

Fig. 10


(1,I) November 4, 2018 The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (I): what number of feminine nudes have been painted?

(1,II) January 8, 2019 The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (II): mapping the story of ‘I Modi’ (‘The Positions’)  

(1,III) March 13, 2019 The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (III): the afterlife of ‘Love of the Gods’  

(1,IV) July 28, 2019 The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (IV): the afterlife of ‘I Modi’ (The Positions)   

(1,V) August 28, 2019 The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (V): afterlife of Aretino’s ‘Sonetti lussuriosi’ illustrated by French artists 

(1,VI) August 16, 2020 The Italian Renaissance Nude amended (VI): extra in regards to the afterlife of‘Loves of the Gods’ 

(2) ‘Pietro Aretino and the Art of the Renaissance’ Exhibitions 27/11/2019 to 01/03/2020,  Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze “Poet, playwright, scathing wit, counsellor to the mighty and a expertise scout of nice artists, Pietro Aretino (Arezzo, 1492 – Venice, 1556) is understood at the moment mainly for his celebrated, and scandalous, Sonnets of Lust. But he was in actual fact one of the crucial  authoritative cultural voices of the sixteenth century…”

(3) In her Ph.D. dissertation Recycling Pietro Aretino: the posthumous reputation of Europe’s first professional writer’ Katharine De Rycker, College of Kent (2014) elaborates additional on the problem of RAFFAELLO’s function: p.182 “In a later letter from 1555 to Aretino, Medoro Nucci attacked him for writing ‘sonnets of fuckers…beneath the figures of Raphael of Urbino’ which Aretino responds to, neither denying his involvement nor, curiously, countering Nucci’s declare that it was Raphael slightly than Romano who made these photos.” See additionally Observe (8) in (1,II) .

(4) Simon Kra (1853-1940) Editeur, fondateur en 1919 des Editions du Sagittaire ou Éditions Simon Kra. – Knowledgeable en ventes publiques de livres de bibliophilie et de manuscrits. 

Lot 74: CURIOSA – ARÉTIN. LES SONNETS LUXURIEUX. (Paris, Simon Kra, 1925). In-8, broché. Ravissante et uncommon édition, qui fut interdite. Elle est illustrée d’une couverture, d’un frontispice et 8 figures érotiques rehaussées à la major. L’éditeur et l’artiste étaient anonymes. Tirage à 250 ex. Public sale Paris, Tajan November3, 2020.

(5) L’ARETIN LES SONNETS LUXURIEUX [Jacques Haumont], 1947. In-12 en feuilles, illustrations en sanguine. Édition tirée à 350 exemplaires sur un beau papier chiffon, illustrée d’après les compositions de Jules Romains. Les dessins seraient visiblement de Gabriel Fournier, (1893 – 1963) peintre et dessinateur. Cet exemplaire est enrichi d’un dessin érotique, non retenu dans l’édition, signé de Gabriel Fournier, à la mine de plomb sur le même papier que l’édition présente. Lot n°314 CORNETTE de SAINT CYR. Paris. 13 JUIN 2016


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