Item Number: 105918
Title: Lustrous images from the Enlightenment: The Medals of the DASSIERS of Geneva, Incorporating an Illustrated General Catalogue. Images Chatoyantes du siècle des lumières: les médailles des Dassier de Genève. Suivi d'un répertoire general illustré
Author: Eisler, William
Price: Not Available
Description: Milan: Skira, 2010. 28cm., hardcover, 222pp., 60 color, 720 b&w illus. English-French text. Summary: The Dassiers (Jean Dassier,1676-1763 and his two sons, Jacques-Antoine, 1715-1759 and Antoine, 1718-1780) were the only medalists of their time to have had the honour of being mentioned in the Encyclopédie by Diderot and D’Alembert, in which one can read that they “have rendered their names famous through their same talent: their fine medals after nature and several other works emerging from their burin prove that they are worthy of being counted amongst the most celebrated engravers”. The book examines the works that established the reputation of the Dassiers, starting with an elegant silver watch case by Jean Dassier for the Fabrique de Genève (Paris, Louvre), three series of small medals or tokens: The Metamorphoses by Ovid (1717; 60 pieces) and Illustrious men of the century of Louis XIV (1723-1724; 73 pieces) and, finally, The Church reformers (1725; 24 pieces). This last series was dedicated to William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, who offered the Dassiers his support in obtaining royal authorization to strike two major series, The Kings of England (1731-1732) and Famous Britons (1731-1738). Borrowing from the fame of his father throughout Europe, Jacques-Antoine, a former pupil of the École de Rome, threw himself into the creation of a new series dedicated to worthies in England, including savants, writers and politicians. At the peak of his career, he had the privilege of producing a portrait of Montesquieu, a work that is a milestone in the history of art (1753). This European reputation ensured that he was invited as engraver to the court of Russia, where he produced his last masterpiece, The founding of the University of Moscow (1754), decorated with an extremely bold portrait of the Empress Elizabeth. The death of Jacques-Antoine in 1759 and of his father four years later marked the end of a glorious artistic and commercial enterprise after 60 years of activity. This publication offers a summary and updating of the catalogue raisonné, The Dassiers of Geneva: 18th-century European medalists (Lausanne and Geneva, 2002-2005), the scientific point of reference for the subject. The new bilingual publication aims to offer direct access for a wider public of enthusiasts, historians and researchers.
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