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- Published on Amazon.com
Antique Tools & Instruments, from the Nessi Collection
Consisting of six essays
* Luigi Nessi: Objects of Use and Subjects of Representation, from the Renaissance to the middle of the nineteenth century.
* Peter PlaBmeyer: Scientific Instruments as Tools, an Outline of their Development from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century.
* Marie-Veronique Clin: Surgical Instruments as Art Objects, Medical Instruments.
* Alessandro Cesati: Civilization and its Tools.
* Richard J. Wattenmaker: Objects of Contemplation and Pleasure, Wrought Iron European Cooking and fireplace Utensils of the Early Modern Era.
* Claudine Cartier: From Personal grooming to Individual Leisure, Objects intended for Private Use.
This is certainly a very delightful and entertaining book. Nessi has brought together five accomplished people, each noted for expertise in their specialty to write a major section. These writings combined with Nessi's very special section and illustrated with hundreds of photographs of objects from his collection, as well as many from major museums and other sources, make a fantastic book. The photograph is superb, the layout and graphic design are without pier; the printing and bookbinding are the best. The text is enlightening, many times hitting on an often felt but seldom articulated thought; the captions for the illustrations are an education.
Nessi takes us on a fascinating tour through the historical documentation of beautifully designed and decorated utilitarian objects created during the 15th through mid 19th centuries. A brief sampling of the works he discusses includes the marquetry in the Gubio Palace depicting a pair of dividers, 1467-80; a paintings by Jacopo da Ponte showing a range of woodworking tools, ca. 1574; engravings of Domenico Fontana's scheme for raising the obelisk in St. Peters Square, 1586; the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519; Felibien's Des Principes de l'architecture, late seventeenth century; Roubo's L'Art du menuisier, (The Art of the Carpenter)1769-75; and the well know Encyclopaedia by Diderot, 1751-1780.
PlaBmeyer explores the world of scientific instruments, often showing beautiful examples made for scholars and royalty. Examples of the sundial, nocturnal, astronomical compendium, celestial globe, armillary sphere, astrolabe, and torquetum are all beautiful and tantalizing. Most of these are identified with the makers name, date and location.
Cesati writes; "There is no doubt that tools have been and continue to be expressions of culture and civilization ... within the context of European civilization... their contribution gained them a dignity, respect, and even veneration..." The tools he chose to show are fabulous; each one is the finest example in its class. I have never seen a more beautiful 17th century iron plate miter plane than the German example shown in plate 73.
It is a book that every collector and or student of artifacts, from the beginning of the 15th century to the middle of the 19th century, should have in their library.