Exotic Birds from Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie
Copper engravings created by Robert Benard, based on designs by François Nicolas Martinet from the renowned Diderot and d’Alembert Encyclopedia, “Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers“, published between 1751-1777. Coloured by a later hand. Size: approx. 20,4 x 35 cm each.
François Nicolas Martinet (1731 – ca. 1790), trained as an engineer, illustrated birds for the most influential French ornithologists of the 18th century. Later in his career, he published his own ornithological works.
The Encyclopédie by Diderot and d’Alembert is not only considered an intellectual and artistic endeavor because of its scope (72,000 articles in 17 volumes plus 11 volumes with illustrations) but has also become a symbol of the Age of Enlightenment in France in the 18th century. The compilation of a comprehensive encyclopedia had begun in the 17th century, and in 1747, Diderot and d’Alembert took over the editorial responsibilities of the continuously expanding work. However, the editors did not strictly adhere to the proposed content; instead of publishing a compendium of all knowledge, they used the Encyclopédie to slip subversive ideas between the articles. The publication was a great success, thanks to its factual entries. However, instead of the factual Encyclopédie that subscribers expected, they encountered polemical articles with attacks on religion and the state, leading to the banning of the publication in 1752. The Encyclopédie was seen as a seditious publication disguised as science. D’Alembert left the editorial team, but Denis Diderot managed to complete the Encyclopédie in 1765 with the help of a royal censor.
Price: Euro 375,- each (incl. frame).