Abregé De La Vie Des Peintres, by PILES, Roger de…

Abregé De La Vie Des Peintres, by PILES, Roger de (1635-1709). < >
PILES, Roger de (1635-1709).

Abregé De La Vie Des Peintres, Avec des reflexions sur leurs Ouvrages, et un Traité du Peintre Parfait, de la connoissance des Desseins, & de l’utilité desa Estampes. 1699, Charles de Sercy, Paris.

First Edition. 12mo (165 x 105 mm), engraved frontispiece and pp. [xx], 540, in contemporary calf, front joint cracked, head and foot of spine chipped, general wear to extremities, spine gilt in compartments, lettered in gilt, marbled edges and endpapers, with the contemporary ownership inscription of A. Franian on the title-page.

First edition of this popular pocket-sized guide to the most celebrated painters, including brief biographical portraits as well as a critical discussion of their major works. Piles himself was a painter and engraver as well as a diplomat, having acquired his extensive knowledge of art and contemporary painters during his time as tutor and secretary to Michel Amelot de Gournay, who he followed during his appointments as French Ambassador in Venice, Portugal, Switzerland and Spain. He also used his connections in the art world - he travelled extensively as a buyer for Louis XIV - as a cover for confidential political missions. The present work was written during his three year imprisonment in the Netherlands in the 1690s, after he was captured as a French secret agent. It was an extremely successful work which ran to numerous editions. Among his many accomplishments and achievements, Piles is remembered for having coined the term ‘clair-obscur’, or Chiaroscuro.

Cioranescu XVIIe 54955.

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