(Anvers: Chez Martin Nutius, 1634). 200 x 165 mm. (7 7/8 x 6 1/8"). 300,  pp. FIRST AND ONLY EDITION.
Attractive 19th-century blue morocco by W. Pratt, triple gilt fillets on covers, spine gilt in compartments with cruciform centerpiece and curling vine cornerpieces, very pretty gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt. WITH 40 FINE ENGRAVINGS, including an engraved title page, 38 portraits of important religious figures and saints, and a final plate depicting these personnages worshipping God in Heaven. Funck, p. 212, fig. 80 & p. 215; Brunet I, 946. See also: Bryan II, p. 210-11. Joints and corners slightly rubbed, one-inch repair to the margin of leaf N1, faint offsetting from plates (slightly heavier in a handful of cases), occasional minor marginal stains, otherwise A VERY PLEASING COPY, WITH ESPECIALLY STRONG, CLEAN IMPRESSIONS OF THE ENGRAVINGS.
Offered here in an especially well-preserved copy, this work is of primary interest for its beautiful engravings done after paintings that once made the Benedictine Abbey of Liessies famous--paintings which, tragically, were either sold, given away, or destroyed during the French Revolution. All but two of the engravings seen here are portraits of important religious personages, including the obvious central figures (Christ, the Virgin, John the Baptist, the Church Fathers, etc.) as well as more recently cannonized saints such as Theresa of Avila. The prolific Étienne Binet (1569-1639), a Jesuit priest from Dijon, has supplied a short biography for each figure, as well as a list of central maxims associated with them, in order to encourage contemplation by the reader. The radiant plates promote this same spirit of meditation and communicate the distinct personalities of their subjects, thanks to the remarkable talents of the designer who studied the original paintings, Theodor Galle (1571-1633), and the engraver who brought them to life, Cornelis Galle (1576-1656). These two artists were brothers, born into a famous Belgian family of engravers. They learned the craft from their father, Phillip, and later in Italy, where they studied the Masters and perfected their art. Back in Antwerp, Cornelis and Theodor both became prominent members of society and found success and prosperity in their careers: Theodor was master of his guild in Antwerp, where, according to Bryan, "he held a commanding position" and for 33 years supplied engravings for the Plantin press (his descendants continued this relationship until 1694). Cornelis was greatly successful in his work as a printseller, collector, and engraver. Their work, particularly that of Cornelis, is considered to be among the best of the period, and this dynamic collaboration between the two siblings seems to bring out the best qualities of each artist: the plates in the present volume are cleverly designed, full of animated activity and detail, and characterized by a high level of precision, even in the rendering of the smallest figures. (ST12974)
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PJP Catalog: Cat 69.138