Aristotle Conversing with Averroës by Girolamo da Cremona
Ink and tempera on vellum
This luxurious two-volume edition of the works of Aristotle was called by Henry Yates Thompson “the most magnificent book in the world.” The trompe-l’oeil tendencies already evident in Girolamo da Cremona’s Augustine of 1475 have been developed even further in the two frontispieces of this copy. In the first volume, the vellum of the page appears to have been torn away to reveal Aristotle conversing with a turbaned figure, possibly the Cordovan commentator Averroës (1126–1190). Beneath is a richly decorated architectural façade set into a landscape populated with satyrs, putti, and deer. A Latin inscription on the façade states that one Petrus Ulmer “brought this Aristotle to the world.” Some scholars have identified this figure with Peter Ugelheimer, a Frankfurt bookseller resident in Venice who sold to Torresanus the punches of the celebrated printer Nicolas Jenson.
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics III-IV (1109b27-1128b35) (pages 18-79)
Topic of Discussion
For our discussion be prepared to (1) share you views about the relative difficulty in practicing the virtues Aristotle presents in books three and four by ranking them in order of the most difficult to the least difficult and (2) discuss the criteria you used to establish your ranking.