Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499. Museum no. 87.F.27

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499. Museum no. 87.F.27

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
Text by Francesco Colonna (1433?–1527)
Printed by Aldus Manutius
Ink on paper; woodcut illustrations after designs by an unknown artist (perhaps Benedetto Bordon)
Italy, Venice
1499
Museum no. 87.F.27

Widely regarded, then as now, as the most beautiful printed book of its time, this uses a combination of words and pictures to recount Poliphilo's search for his love, Polia. In Italian but aimed at readers familiar with Ovid, Apuleius and other classical texts, the story gives atmospheric descriptions of ruins, monuments, sculptures and antiquities.