Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Temple of Muses By Bernard Picart

Found this posting over at Neatorama which then added it from Bibliodyssey about these amazing copper plate etchings from the 1730's by French illustrator Bernard Picart. The images were produced in a book called Neuer√∂ffneter Musen-Tempel, (Temple of the Muses) with 60 copperplate engravings, mostly illustrating stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

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Link to original post or read more info below

Bernard Picart (or Picard) (1673-1733) was a French book illustrator and one of the outstanding engravers from the first decades of the 18th century. His most famous work - see: Designer Religion - was an enormous compendium of the world's religions.

In 'Neuer√∂ffneter Musen-Tempel', a collection of mythological fables and stories (most notably from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses') is presented, accompanied by sixty copperplate engravings by Picart. The illustrations are superior in quality, even as they appeared in 1733 in the fading light of the Baroque tradition. The fabulous ornate border patterns lend the compositions something of a formal quality like framed paintings; indeed, Picart drew inspiration for a number of his engravings from mid-17th century works by the Rubens student, Abraham van Diepenbeeck. But the majority of the designs are by Picart himself.

Motives listed for Picart's illustration include: Alcyone, Alpheus, Andromeda, Apollo, Arethusa, Argonauts, Argus, Aristaeus, Artemis, Calais, Cassandra, Castor, Ceyx, Cycnus, Deucalion, Dioscuri, Echo, Enceladus, Endymion, Eos, Eurynome, Giants, Glaucus, Harpies, Heliades, Hera, Hermaphroditus, Hermes, House of Hypnos, Io, Iphis, Leander, Leucothoe, Lycaon, Memnon, Niobe, Niobids, Oeneus, Palladium, Pan, Perseus, Phaethon, Phineus, Polydeuces, Proteus, Pygmalion, Pyrrha, River Gods, Salmacis, Selene, Semele, Syrinx, Tantalus, The Flood, Tithonus, Trojan War, Troy, Underworld, Zetes, Zeus [source]

'The Temple of Muses' was published in France and Germany simultaneously in 1733 and includes captions in English, French, German and Dutch below each illustration. The images above are from a 1754 edition published in Amsterdam.

The Chaos Of The Origin Of The World
Achelous in the shape of a Bull is vanquished by Hercules
Ulysses and his companions avoid the charms of the Sirens
Amphion builds the walls of Thebes by the Music of his Lyre
Arion preserved by a Dolphin
Atlas supports the Heavens on his shoulders
Bellerophon fights the Chimaera
Transformation of Cyguns into a Swan and Phaeton's Sisters into poplar trees
Glaucus changed into a Sea-God
Hercules' Combat with the Hydra
Ixion's wheel
Sisyphus's stone
The Dioscuri or Castor and Pollux the Guardians of Mariners
The Fall of Icarus
The Moon and Endymion