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The speculative tulip
February 12, 2018
In the 17th century, exchanges with the New World intensified. We discover cultures, spices... and flowers. Horticulture is becoming the fashionable hobby, while the botany attempts to deal with the flood of new exotic species. Marvels are then published, accompanied by their engravings - or paintings for the nicest.

Coming from the Old World, the tulip is very popular in the Netherlands... The demand is so strong that only one bulb is traded at the value of two houses. In 1635 you can even buy a piece of bulb! Then the bubble bursts. But we had time to put this flower in the books.
As in these gouaches on vellum Recueil de fleurs dessinées et peintes par Nicolas Robert, Jean Joubert, et autres artistes du XVIIe siècle.

For a more subtle understanding of the "tulip crisis".

Discoveries made at the Arsenal conference, L'illustration dans le livre de botanique au XVIIe et XVIIIe siècle, by Luc Menapace.

February 11, 2018
The 13th and 14th centuries are the golden age of drollerie.
This type of decoration is contained in the margins of manuscripts, often religious, such as books of hours or psalms. But far from inciting devotion, drolleries are unusual, satirical or even irreverent representations...

Its function still questions, but if it was simply a matter of entertaining the reader, in a slightly boring book? Or to parody some social hierarchies for fun, and why not make them aware of it?

The sketches are full of hybrids, aggressive rabbits, animals in outfits, inverted hunts, weird stuff... So many theatrical windows animated with virtuosities.

For fun, from the Grandes Heures de Jean de Berry from 1400-1410.

On this subject, readJean Wirth, Les marges à drôleries des manuscrits gothiques (1250-1350) and for an overview of this study, the excellent review by Andrea Martignoni.

From ornament to botany
February 10, 2018
Another Book of Hours... For they harbor treasures. The Manuscrits du Maître-aux-fleurs of the XVth contains large borders, or frames, composed of flowers. On each of the 116 pages, yes. Which vary on each page, yes. Let's keep it simple.
Margins have always been an area of liberty. We have in mind the "droleries", strange little stages that accompany often serious texts. Here, the illustration does not try so much to distract as to make the page beautiful and moving. With success.

It is also this will that is apparent in the Grandes Heures d' Anne de Bretagne, circa 1505-1510. Jean Bourdichon's painted flowers, which are once again strikingly realistic, are flanked by a legend that names them. We move slowly from horticulture to botany, and from the mythical plant, copied from manuscript, to the tangible specimen, observed alive.

Moving engraving in the 15th
February 02, 2018
Xylography is the queen of engraving until the 17th century. It supports the production of books with the advantage of being able to be printed at the same time as the text.
But here it is, to have engraved woods for books of several hundred folios...
The existing woods are then reused or even modified to adapt their pattern.

And also, illustrations are produced using"moving" woods.
As in these examples from the Therence en francois prose et rime auecques le latin (1499). Each image is made up of 5 moving parts that can be assembled, undone, joined together...

Discoveries made at the Arsenal conference, L’illustration dans les premiers livres imprimés au XVe et XVIe siècles, by Louis Gabriel Bonicoli.

Filigree abstract letter
January 31, 2018
The Central Middle Ages invented graphic means to make the text intelligible in the page... to counter the density of carolines, without spaces between words, with many abbreviations.

The image conquered the book massively, driven by its structuring function, to which is added an ornamental contribution of great richness.

Rubrication no longer consists solely of colouring in red; the initial embellishes, historiates itself.

Here is a focus on the filigreed letter... and a little more, in the breathtaking Evangéliaire à l' usage de Paris de 1345-1350. The letter becomes daydream, Persian carpet, insect, chromosome...

Discoveries made at the Arsenal conference, L' image dans le livre médiéval, by Louisa Torres.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Eric Singelin
January 29, 2018

Eric Singelin presents "Je suis l'arbre".
The opportunity to learn a little bit more about the author and his work!

Je suis l’arbre
January 28, 2018
Je suis l’arbre is the title of a story, or rather an autobiography. That of a happy and peaceful tree, in harmony with the elements. In spite of its roots, it rubs shoulders with the wind and clouds. When suddenly man interferes. And his saw.

Eric Singelin reinvests a subject and graphic repertoire from his previous work.

The text, written as a succession of haïkus, comes with a minimalist design printed in three very vivid pantone colors, including a bold fluorescent one. This is this economy of means that gives the story its poetic force. Vegetable beauty, translated by a curves drawing, is scratched by the human intervention made up of straight and broken lines.

Pop-ups are designed as small sculptures. I especially appreciated the almost divine apparition of the "throne-tree" bathed in an ocean of light. But also the very sensitive falling movement of the falling trunk.

A book to contemplate, to meditate, that I enjoy a little more each time, which celebrates the resistance, persistence and rebirth of nature.

Photo : Eric Singelin