The viaLibri website requires cookies to work properly. You can find more information in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Recently found by viaLibri....

Quaestio Theologica. Quis fecit hominem ad imaginem suam? Gen. c. I. V. 27
Paris: Hecquet for the Sorbonne, 1768. Double-sheet engraved broadside (122 x 89 cm.), the two sheets printed in landscape format and pasted together at bottom edge of the upper sheet and top edge of the lower sheet, platemarks approximately 54 x 65 cm. (top sheet) and 54 x 68.5 cm. (bottom sheet), the upper sheet containing an allegorical engraving of Christ healing the infirm, with beginning of signature "Invenit et pixit"..., artist's / engraver's name(s) hidden by the lower sheet, and with imprint "à Paris chez Hecquet place de Cambray à l'Image St. Maur"; the lower sheet with engraved cartouche of putti drawing back a curtain which encloses a blank area in which is printed the letterpress text of the thesis, with a smaller ornamental cartouche at the top of the sheet containing the letterpress caption Infirmum Sananti and another small cartouche at the foot with the letterpress words Pro Sorbonica. A fine, dark impression on thick paper. No visible watermark. Preseved folded three times leaving creasing at folds; one tiny hole in upper sheet. *** A very large two-sheet illustrated thesis print, announcing the defense of a dissertation at the Faculty of Theology of the Sorbonne, and including the text of the thesis. This spectacular broadside exemplifies the use of monumental engravings for informational and celebratory purposes in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century educational institutions. This 4 x 3-foot thesis print (or other copies from the same edition), would have been posted on the walls of the Sorbonne, to announce the public defense of his thesis for the title of Baccalaureat by Pierre-Etienne (Petrus Stephanus) Maillard, described as a priest from Chartres (Presbyter Carnotensii). The imprint states that he will defend the thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Paris from 6 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon on 10 November 1768. "In early modern institutions of higher education, academic dissertations to be defended in public were published in the form of decorated broadsheets summarising the student's conclusions. The first aim of these engraved posters was to advertise the disputation and to provide an overview of the themes [called theses or conclusions] to be discussed. They also presented a visual programme of its unfolding, and could be kept as a souvenir after the ceremony. [Having originated in Jesuit colleges,] this practice was common mostly in the Catholic countries: Italy, France, Southern Netherlands, Germanic countries and Austria.... Thesis defences, or disputations, were used as exams to conclude academic studies of master or doctorate, and to demonstrate the student's graduation. Pro gradu disputations were of great significance within the academic system. They were subject to rigorous etiquette and important pageantry dictated by the educational establishments. Illustrious guests, chamber orchestras, processions through the town and banquets turned them into social events. The institutions organised the festivities ... Such ceremonies were very expensive, because they included the printing of the thesis posters, the decoration of the college hall and the organisation of a dinner for the audience. Therefore, only wealthy men could afford this, while the others just took the regular exams..." (De Muelenaere, pp. 49-50). Preparation of the thesis prints often took up an inordinate amount of the students' time (cf. Rice, 155-6), and their production became a sub-specialty of some print publishers. Originally from Abbéville, Robert Hecquet (1693-1775) settled in Paris and set up shop on the place Cambrai near the Sorbonne (now the place du Collège-de-France), as an engraver and printseller. He quickly gravitated toward the sales end, employing other engravers, and specialized in the production of illustrated thesis "placards" (called "frontispices" in the Inventaire du fonds français). Hecquet advertised his services to students from the provinces through announcements in the Mercure de France (IFF18, vol. 11, pp. 260-261). After his death in 1775 his thesis copperplates continued to be used for well over a decade (cf. IFF18, Hecquet no. 25, a thesis broadside from 1789 using one of his plates). During the vogue for thesis prints (which had originated as small unillustrated pamphlets), which began in the early 17th century and lasted until sometime after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, their imagery grew both in size and in complexity. Decoding the iconography became a game: "the chief fascination of these prints lies in their rich iconography. The subject-matter is usually derived from classical sources ... but ...heraldic and emblematic elements transform the narrative into a visual encomium extolling the student's sponsor, and sometimes also his institution. The imagery tends to be intricate, recondite, witty and playful. These prints are perhaps best understood as visual entertainments, exercises in interpretation designed to delight and instruct a learned audience. To decipher them is to enter the inverted world of Jesuit symbolism, in which pagan stories illustrate Christian precepts, female figures personify male virtues, and material objects reveal abstract truths" (Rice, 156-58). The upper sheet of these broadsides typically consisted of a large engraved allegorical scene, while the lower sheet contained an engraved decorative cartouche with a space at the center for the letterpress text, printed in small type. The engraving would be printed first. In the present example, the artist's and engraver's name or names in the lower left of the upper sheet are obscured by the bottom sheet. The illustration was probably used for a variety of theological theses. While the thesis subject is Genesis 1.27 ("et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam...."), the engraving is a New Testament scene, showing Christ in a colonnade, with John and Peter behind him, reaching out his hand in blessing toward an approaching group bearing a lame man on a litter; in the background is a riparian landscape with a village and distant mountain. I locate no other copies of the broadside. Not in the Inventaire du Fonds français, graveurs du XVIIIe siècle (vol 11, article Hecquet). Cf. Thieme-Becker 16: 214-15; G. De Muelenaere, "Images of the Courtier in Flemish Thesis Prints (17th-18th centuries)" Paper presented at the Renaissance Society of America Conference in Berlin, 26-28 March 2015, Ghent University Academic Bibliography (GEMCA): Papers in Progress 2017 vol. 4, no.1 (online), pp. 49-62; and Louise Rice, "Jesuit thesis prints and the festive academic defence at the Collegio Romano," The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences and the Arts 1540-1773, vol. I (Toronto. 1999), 148-169.
      [Bookseller: Musinsky Rare Books, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-02-26           Check availability:      Biblio    


Browse more rare books from the year 1768

      Home     Wants Manager     Library Search     562 Years   Links     Contact      Search Help      Terms of Service      Privacy     

Copyright © 2018 viaLibri™ Limited. All rights reserved.