Andrea Torresani was born in Asolo in 1451 and acquired in 1479 the fonts
of Nicholas Jenson, from whom he learned the printing trade. In 1503, Torresani
married his daughter to Aldus Manutius, and the two men formed a professional
partnership which continued from 1506 until Aldus' death in 1515. Torresani
continued to run the company until his own death in 1529.
1515, Venice: ALDUS MANUTIUS AND ANDREA TORRESANI DI ASOLO
Aldus himself however is believed to have prepared this second edition of
the 1502 Dante, which appeared shortly after his death. Significantly, with
regard to the textual authority of Benivieni's 1506 Giuntina, Aldus often
adopted variant readings which Benivieni had introduced in his edition.
Moreover, the influence of the Giuntina on Aldus' second edition is evident
in the addition of several illustrations of the structure of Hell, including
a moral schema of sins
punished in Dante's Lower Hell recently attributed to Pietro Bembo (a,
The courtly vernacular context for the edition is indicated by its dedication
to Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547), one of the most famous women of the Italian
Renaissance, friend to the most important cultural figures of the age including
Bembo, Castiglione and Michelangelo, and a poet in her own right.
Marginal notations tell us something about the reception of Dante during
this period. For example, a Renaissance reader has annotated several passages
in this copy, marking the passage of time as he was reading the poem. He
glosses Purgatorio XXVIII,
50-51: "You make me recall where and what Proserpina was at the
time her mother lost her, and she the Spring." Perhaps to mark the
passing of Spring the year he was reading the poem, the reader adds : "Hearken
well and be wise Marco, 1557, the last day of May."