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1690 - Paris - 1764


L’Enlèvement d’Europe [The Abduction of Europa] – 1729/1742


Chiaroscuro woodcut in blue on black lines from four blocks after Paolo Farinati (Italian, 1524–1606). Size of sheet: 42 x 27 cm. From the series ‘Recueil d'estampes d'après les plus beaux tableaux et d'après les plus beaux desseins qui sont en France dans le Cabinet du Roy, dans celuy de Monseigneur le duc d’Orléans, & dans d’autres cabinets” [Collection of prints after the most beautiful paintings and after the most beautiful designs that are in France..] or better-known as “Recueil Crozat”.


Le Blanc 1854, 20.


Comparative impressions: Musée des Beaux-Arts Du Canada – Ref.18348 ; Philadelphia Museum of Art – Ref. 1985-52-161.


Very strong early impression on heavy laid paper.



Nicolas Le Sueur: L’Enlèvement d’Europe

  • In the XVIII century, art books were increasingly prized by collectors and connoisseurs. One of the most desired books was the deluxe two-volume publication - the Recueil Crozat, named after the patron of the project Pierre Crozat (1661-1740), who was an avid art collector himself. He also sponsored the publication and started investing during 1720s, with the first volume published in 1729; the second in 1742.

    Some plates imitating drawings were printed in colour inks from a combination of etched plates made by the amateur Comte de Caylus, peintre-graveur Paul Robert de Séri and professional printmaker Charles Cochin I, with chiaroscuro woodcuts carved by the printmaker Nicolas Le Sueur. The second issue was published in 1742 after the death of Crozat under the auspices of Comte de Caylus and art dealer and publisher Pierre-Jean Marriette (1694-1774), who also added some explanatory text and changed the order of some of the plates. To opt to include chiaroscuro woodcuts was to pay tribute to the 16thc century Italian colour prints.

  • Lady Dilke, French Engravers and Draughtsmen of the XVIIIth Century, 1902;

    Francis Haskell, The Painful Birth of the Art Book, 1987;

    Kristel Smentek, Mariette and the Science of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 2014;

    Rena Hoisington, Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya, 2021.

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