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Louis-Marin BONNET

(1736 – Paris – 1793)


La Sagesse et la Justice [Justice and Wisdom] – 1770

After François Boucher.


Chalk manner in black and white on blue laid paper and mounted on the original support with etched frame and lettering. Lettering: ‘La Sagesse et la Justice/Gravé par Bonnet d’Après le dessein de Mr.Boucher premier Peintre du Roy/ AParis chés Bonnet rue Galande entre un Chandellier et un Layetier vis à vis la rue du Fouarre’.

Size of sheet: 29.8 x 21.8 cm.

Size of the support sheet: 39.4 x 29 cm.


Herold 50; Jean-Richard 358; Ananoff 1080 (ill.fig.172).


Comparative impressions: Rijksmuseum – Ref. RP-P-OB-5731.


Exquisite impression in fresh condition. The blue paper was mounted for publication like an original drawing on the support with printed framing lines, the address, the title and the publisher’s information, which was usual.


Louis-Marin Bonnet: La Sagesse et la Justice

  • Bonnet’s innovation was the formulation of a white printer’s ink that could imitate white chalk or gouache. He never shared his secret with anyone and was the only chalk-manner printmaker of the time to use white ink in his prints – creating an illusion of the powdery feeling of the chalk in his printed lines, especially on blue paper.

    A woman (Wisdom), seen from behind, is seated on the base of a column. She holds a mirror as symbol of wisdom and self-knowledge. In the foreground, on the right, a cupid holds an open book as a symbol of human life with a scythe at his feet as a reminder of death. On the right, a standing woman (Justice) is leaning on the shaft of a column. She holds Scales and Hand of Justice. Highly symbolic image.

    The print was announced in Le Mercure de France in December 1770 (p.171) in the year of François Boucher’s death.

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