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MUSÉE DU LOUVRE
Le musée français, recueil complet des tableaux, statues et bas-reliefs, qui composent la collection nationale; avec l'explication des sujets, et des discours historiques sur la peinture, la sculpture, et la gravure, par S.-C. Croze Magnan. Publié par Robillard-Peronville et Laurent.
Paris: de l'imprimerie de L.-É. Herhan, 1803--1809.
4 vols ; 61.5 cm. (1º)
I: [10], 140, [192] p., [90] pl.
II: [6], 98, [186] p., [87] pl.
III: [6], 60, [178] p., [84] pl.
IV: [6], 100, [184] p., [82] pl.

On the title-pages of volumes III and IV the name of S.-C. Croze-Magnon is replaced by those of E.Q. Visconti and T.B. Éméric-David. Imprint varies: vol. IV has the imprint of Mame Frères. Volume I is dated 'An XI. = 1803'; vol. II, 'An XIII. = 1805'; vol. III, 1807; and vol. IV, 1809. Each volume is dedicated to Napoleon as 'Citoyen Premier Consul' (vol. I), 'Empereur' (vol. II), or 'Empereur Et Roi' (vol. III--IV). Consisting of nearly 350 plates with accompanying descriptive letterpress and introductory essays, the work describes paintings and sculptures in the Louvre. Published at a time when the former royal collections of France were being added to by the works of art collected by Napoleon from many parts of Europe, the plates (which include several works which were later repatriated such as the Laocoön, a small plaster copy of which is in the Museum South Passage at 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields) are arranged in four broad sections: history paintings including religious works; genre paintings and portraits; landscapes and seascapes; and ancient sculpture. According to the 'Avertissement Contenant Le Plan Général De L'Ouvrage' in vol. I, one volume of the completed work was to be devoted to each genre, but the plates were issued in livraisons containing plates from all four sections concurrently (each section part having a contents leaf) for the sake of variety, each part of each section with a letterpress table of contents, and purchasers were free to choose their own binding order. The preliminary 'Discours Historiques' are sometimes found bound in a separate volume.

Copy Notes The plates are protected by tissue guards. Inserted loose before the title-page in vol. III a statement in ink in an unidentified, near contemporary hand: This is unquestionably the grandest / production of Modern Times. Louis the / XIV has been celebrated for a sumptuous / display of magnificence in the publica- / tion of the Cabinet du Roi, but Bonaparte without / meaning in the slightest degree to under / value the merits of that admirable / was determined to surpass it & erect / a Monument to his Glory which / should outshine that of every other // Potentate as a Patron of the Arts. / After having robbed every State / of the continent of their Finest / Pictures & Statues he caused this / series of Plates to be engraved from / them by the most distinguished Artists has again / dispersed the collec Pictures Imperial / Collection of Pictures & Statues & this / beautiful work acquires a new interest / as a record of that astonishing collection / which recently once [?] excited the world.

Binding C19th half green morocco, green Kleisterpapier boards, gilt-tooled borders, gilt double-ruled spines, gilt-lettered.

Reference Number 5590


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