Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jean Berain Grottesca

What? You uploaded 327 detailed photographs of the original etchings by Berain?! For free?

I had a religious experience. I was in the rare prints room of the NY Library yesterday, and was brought an original copy of the volume from 1711 containing all of Berain's etchings for the Sun King himself. Page after page of gorgeous detail and beautiful ornament. I couldn't believe my eyes! The guy just walked away and left me alone with this treasure!

Monkeys hanging by a string from a dude's butt, Goatboy and a snail in deep conversation; what's not to love? The guy was clearly a madman. It was a lot of fun just disappearing down the rabbit hole with him for a few hours. Take these two for example: The guy on the right of the panel is doing a little target practice with the naked guy on the left. Awesome! What the hell was he thinking?

There's a certain irony in celebrating work that could never have existed in a Democracy, while the very enjoyment of that work depends upon such wonderful democratic institutions as the New York Public Library. Free to all people through the generosity of donors such as Andrew Carnegie. A man who sold up his steel empire and donated the equivalent of $350 million towards the setting up of the Public Library system. That and our taxes, of course!

Anyway, there are way too many images to post on this blog, so I put them all here

Think I'm going back there with a better camera to take more pictures? 


1 comment:

  1. These are hilarious! Let alone, also showing as nice examples of the art of etching and what a fertile imagination can produce as inventive variations from a rich but not unlimited vocabulary of ornamental forms.

    It makes me smile to see all the fun going on in these. Dude was seriously crazy, in the best of ways! Bravo!

    Alan, you continue to amaze. Please teach.

    -- Mark