Francesco, praeses. Broadside,
begins: “Theses ex utroque jure excerptae, quas excellentissimis D.D. Marchionibus
Francisco Calcagnino sapientum judice nec non D. Guidone Bentevolo, ac Christino
Bevilacqua Almo studii Ferrariensis moderatoribus, auspicibus, ac patronio, publice
propugnandas exhibet Petrus Annovi Ferrariensis.” Ferrariae: Typis Lilii,
1754. Folio extra (84.9 cm × 57.6 cm, 33.375"× 22.625").  f.
Extremely ornate wide engraved borders surround, indeed
overwhelm, the Latin text of this eye-filling Italian wall poster inviting
all to a
1754 “law school” thesis defense; above that bordered text within
a connected frame is a large and simply splendid emblematic engraving of Mordecai,
seated grandly robed on the king’s great horse, being led by a sour-faced
Haman through the streets of Shushan (Esther 6:11)—a beautiful and suitable-here
just man triumphant over oppression—with the caption
underneath, “Humilem Mardochaeum super Aman exaltavit Dominus,”
“the Lord hath exalted humble Mordecai over Haman.” Surely it is
no accident that, with one blink, details of the latter’s garb resolve
themselves clearly into a noose held in Mordecai's left hand! The engraving
is signed, “Intagliato dal Bolzoni in Ferrara nel 1754.”
The announced propugnator of the theses is a certain Pietro Annovi
of Ferrara, his examiners are Francesco Calcagnino, Guido Bentivolo, and Christino
Bevilacqua, and he is to defend eight theses in canon and civil law (four
in each), e.g., whether clerics can do battle against the enemies of the faith.
Spaces have been left at the base of the invitation/broadsheet to fill in
the exam’s exact date and hour.
The image in its frame and the text border were engraved on two large copper
plates, with space left for the letterpress. The text border is composed of
a baroque frame formed of s- and c-curves, scalloping, foliation, and scrollwork,
incorporating vases of flowers, a classical bust, and garlands, with angels
seated at base. The frame of the grand scene in the top half of the broadsheet
is simpler—but only by comparison!
Fold marks, pin-holes around edge, traces of soiling, a few
instances of shallow tears and chipping on the edges, with one longer tear
(3 cm, 1.125"), none touching engraving; small internal tear with loss of
parts of a few letters, without loss of legibility.
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