Gallery of prints for sale

Monday 20 March 2023

Bernard Picart’s engraving, “Portrait of Bernard de Fontenelle, with Personifications of the Seven Liberal Arts”, 1727

Bernard Picart (1673–1733)

“Portrait of Bernard de Fontenelle, with Personifications of the Seven Liberal Arts” (aka “Oeuvres Diversés de Mr Bernard de Fontenelle”), 1727, published in The Hague in 1728 by Gosse & Neaulme as the frontispiece to the first volume (of three) of Bernard de Fontenelle’s (aka Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle) (1657–1757), “Œuvres Diverses”. This frontispiece to the title page shows a portrait, at top held by putti, after a painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743) of Bernard de Fontenelle—author of the books featured in the design (from the left): “The History of the Oracles”; “The Dialogues of the Dead”; “Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds” and “The Praise of the Academicians”—with the Muses in the foreground and with Apollo holding his lyre and Pegasus ridden by a cherub further into the distance.

Engraving with etching on laid paper with small margins around the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 27.2 x 22 cm; (plate) 25.7 x 17.3 cm); (inner image borderline) 24.2 x 16.5 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (left on spine of books) “HIST. DES ORACL/ DIALOGUES/ DES MORTS. [History of the Oracles; Dialogues of the Dead]”; (lower left on tablet held by putto) “ENTRETIENS SUR/ LA PLURALITE/ DES MONDES. [Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds]”; (centre on note and spine of book) “TEV[O]CY/ DIDES” [You give it to me]; “ELOGES DES ACADEMICIENS” [Praise of the Academicians]; (lower centre on slip of paper and spines of books) “DIGRESIONS/ sur les/ ANCIENS/ & les/ MODERNES.” [Digressions on the Ancients and the Moderns]; “LETR. GALANT” [Galant Letters]; “POES PASTORA” [Shepherd Poet]; (lower right) “B. Picart inv. et fecit 1727”.
Lettered in plate below the image borderline: “OEUVRES DIVERSÉS DE MR. BERNARD DE FONTENELLE./ de l[‘]Academie Françoise, de celle des Sciences, et de celle des inscriptions.” (Various Works of Mr. Bernard de Fontenelle of the Académie Françoise, that of Sciences, and that of Inscriptions].

The British Museum and the Rijksmuseum hold earlier states of this print with additional borders and a cartouche above the portrait before the plate was reduced in size:;

Condition: a strong and well-printed (near faultless) impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate with small margins around the platemark. Beyond remnants of glue marks on the right edge (possibly from binding in its publication), the sheet is in a very good condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains.

I am selling this finely executed frontispiece to a three-volume assortment of works by the French author and scientist, Bernard Le Bovier, sieur de Fontenelle—an influential writer at the time of the Enlightenment in advocating the Copernican system in which the sun became accepted as the centre of the universe—for the total cost of AU$223 (currently US$148.89/EUR139.60/GBP122.26 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this exquisite engraving—note that spines of the books depicted in the image are lettered with the titles of books that are brought together in the three-volume set that this frontispiece introduces—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know your thoughts, advice about inaccuracies (including typos) and additional information that you would like to add to any post.