Very rare first edition illustrating the Renaissance masquerades, a work of Robert Boissard, drawer and engraver born in Valencia in 1570.
Lipperheide, 3167 ; Brunet, I, 1070 ; Rahir, 331 ; Colas, 368 ; Cicognara, 1594 ; Graesse, Trésor de Livres rares, I, 475.
Related to Jean-Jacques Boissard, he engraved several figures showing the Icones vivorum illustrium (Frankfurt, 1597) after drawings from the latter. Besides, he is responsible for a portrait of Ronsart, and one of Henri IV.
Entirely engraved, the work is illustrated with a title in an architectural border, and with 23 plates drawn by Jean-Jacques Boissard and engraved by Robert Boissard. Most of them were enhanced with yellow color at the time.
The volume was printed at the time when masquerades were very popular.
Generally given in royal residencies, these entertainments were mainly choreographic.
They took place in a room shaped like a “long square”, furnished on the sides with armchairs or bleachers, were the King, his family, and depending on their role, the courtesans, seated. A dance troop, led by a prince or a princess, accompanied by a few figurants, singers and musicians, appeared during the ball, after having discussed of a theme related to their costumes and the entries they would make.
Short shows, without plot, they could nevertheless involve a few decorations and even machines. But generally, shows were only taking place with costumes that were particularly taken care of, by spending for them amounts of money as big as for operas.
Masquerades were organized during the carnival, in January, February or March, before Lent, the period of the year during which, according to old customs, more fantasy and liberty could be expressed.
This suite of the masquerades that has made famous the name of the engraver Robert Boissard, is not a simple collection of “grotesques”. These mannered couples with caricatured faces are accompanied by moralizing captions that put these masquerades half-way between motto and emblems collections, so fashionable at that time, and those of proverbs, more popular, in the style of Lagniet (c. 1650).
Beautiful wide-margined copy.
A brilliant testimony about the Renaissance parties, printed in Paris in 1597.
Provenance: from Horace de Landau’s library (1824-1903) with his ex-libris on the paste-down.