GAUTIER d'AGOTY, Arnaud Eloi. Cours complet d'anatomie.

Nancy, Jean-Baptiste-Hyacinthe LeClerc., 1773

Imperial-folio (640x480 mm.), 2 leaves, 25 pages and 15 colour mezzotint plates. Some marginal spotting and thumbing, waterstaining to lower inner blank margin, overall a very good copy bound in contemporary green vellum, somewhat rubbed and spotted, rebacked.First edition. It had been intended that the complete work would consists of five parts but only part one seems to have been published (Welcome catalogue). Gautier d'Agoty (c.1715 - 1785) was the assistant and successor to the master painter, engraver and pioneer of colour printing Jacques Christophe le Blon (1670 - 1741). ‘The three-color process had been invented by Jean Christophe Leblon a native of Frankfurt-am-Main, about 1720. He made his first attempts at colorprinting in Holland, and worked later in London and Paris. He used separate blocks inked with the pigment colors yellow, blue and red, and obtained some gradation through heavy mezzotinting or scraping and through varying the amount of color-inking. But his plates were not very successful. It was Gautier d'Agoty who made Le Blond's system work by adding a fourth plate, a black one which usually carried the design and permitted shadows and contrasts.' (Hunt catalogue).After the death of Le Blon, Gautier d'Agoty's refinement of Le Blon's technique aroused controversy until in 1745 he was awarded the exclusive use of his own technique. Although Gautier d'Agoty's anatomical works have been criticised for their lack of anatomical verisimilitude - he was after all an artist - there can be no doubt that his productions, with their artistic composition, magnificent illuminating colour and haunting facial expressions are extraordinary examples of a visionary artist displaying his abilities to the utmost. "These fifteen plates follow a scheme of progress, from the classical figures at the start, to skeletal hands and feet; or we can see it as a strip performance, from fully clad nudes by stages to muscle and bone. The delightful Apollo and Venus starting the theme were of course prepared in four mezzotint plates by Arnauld-Eloi, but painted by a Nancy artist, Jean Girardet, who died five years later... They are certainly stunning examples from neo-classical France, reproduced with sophisticated art by the Gautier Dagoty process" (Franklin, Early Colour Printing pp. 49-50). Garrison Morton describes Gautier's coloured mezzotints as striking.Choulant-Frank p. 273; Singer, Arnauld-Eloi Gautier d'Agoty, 1-15; Wellcome Institute F.432, p 97


Other Books

MEDA RIQUIER rare books ltd.
4 Bury Street St James's
SW1Y 6AB London

Phone +44 (0) 7770457377