Paris, chez Desève, artiste-éditeur et Deterville, libraire, de l’imprimerie de Crapelet, 1809.
Large folio [546 x 356 mm] of (2) ll. of half-title and title, 2 pp. of notice to the reader, 8 pp., 7 pp. of explanation, 25 plates in color each accompanied with 1 or 2 ll. of explanatory text and protected with silky-papers. A few slight foxing. Bound in red quarter-shagreen, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fillets. Joints and corners slightly rubbed, head of spine missing. Contemporary binding.
Superb and rare collection presenting the paintings executed by Rubens to decorate the Luxembourg Palace which was built for Marie de Medici.
Graesse, Trésor de livres rares, 12 ; Sander 747 ; Cohen, Guide de l’amateur de livres à gravures, 914 (for the 1808 edition) ; Brunet, IV, 1443.
« It is the allegorical story of Marie de Medici. Rubens’ originals that decorated for a long time the Luxembourg Palace, built for this princess, are now at the Louvre. » (Cohen)
A similar collection had already been published in 1710 under the title: « La Galerie du Palais du Luxembourg, peinte par Rubens », but the present work, published almost a hundred years later, is entirely new, with different engravings, coming with an explanatory text. Bibliographers mention an edition from Paris, 1808, but we were not able to locate any copy from that edition.
We learn in the Notice that: “The Galerie du Luxembourg, this beautiful collection of Rubens’ paintings, had already been reproduced by cold chisel. But for a long time, the compilation had become rare in the business. The current editor flattered himself by saying that, by reproducing again [this beautiful collection of Rubens’ paintings], under a more practical form, accompanied with an historical and allegorical text, it would be well received by the Public. He thought that, as Rubens excelled in the choice and the vividness of the colors, it would make him lose more than others to just be limited to depict the lines and the expression. Thus, he put all his effort into imitating, as much as possible, the charm of the original colors”.
The superb illustration is composed of Rubens’ portrait by Le Clerc engraved by Benoist and of 24 plates after Rubens’ paintings engraved by Benoist, Duthé, Gauthier le jeune, Gabriel, Gouyon, Disart and Pierron.
They represent : a Portrait of Marie de Medici in Minerva, a Portrait of Francis II, a Portrait of Joanna of Austria, the Destiny of Marie de Medici, the Birth of the Princess, the Education of the Princess, the Presentation of Her Portrait to Henri IV, the Wedding by Proxy of Marie de Medici to King Henri IV, the Disembarkation at Marseilles, the Meeting of Marie de Medici and Henri IV at Lyons, the Birth of the Dauphin at Fontainebleau, the Consignment of the Regency, the Coronation in Saint-Denis, the Death of Henri IV and the Proclamation of the regency, the Councils of God, The Regent Militant: The Victory at Jülich, The Exchange of the Princesses at the Spanish Border, The Felicity of the Regency of Mari de Medici, Louis XIII come of Age, The Flight from Blois, The Negotiations at Angouleme, The Queens opts for Security, Reconciliation of the Queen and her Son, The Triumph of Truth.
« The figures exist in black and printed in colour. In black, half-binding, 350 frcs; in colour, half-binding, 2 000 francs. » (Sander)
A superb copy from the de luxe issue, with all the engravings printed in colour and finely enhanced with contemporary hand-colouring.
The present work being one of the earliest books to contain colour-printed plates that faithfully reproduce the paintings of a great master, it has an important place in the study of art history.
A beautiful copy of this rare collection illustrated with 25 superb plates in contemporary colouring, preserved in its contemporary red quarter-shagreen.