Antoine Vérard

Franciscan monk and child.
This copy was printed 26th June 1492.
Antoine Vérard, Franciscan monk and child

Guy Marchant's books about La Danse Macabre are famous, partly because of their big and handsome woodcuts. But the woodcuts that were published in the same period by Antoine Vérard are just as handsome, and this is not so strange. Both series were produced by the same man, Pierre le Rouge, and it is difficult to prefer either one to the other.

It is also hard to tell, which is the older version. The colophon in Guy Marchant's first edition states that it was printed 28th September 1485. In contrast the last lines of the colophon in Gallica's copy of Vérard (see external link) have been erased so all we can read is that it was printed in Paris: »Cy finist la dance Macabre historiee et augmentee De plusieurs nouueaux personnages et beaux dits. Et les trois mors & trois Vifs ensemble nouuellement ainsi composee et imprimee a paris [… … …]«.

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France simply writes "around 1500", while Henri Monceaux (see external link) estimates the year to be 1485. The latter guess is based on the fact that Vérard doesn't have any of those characters that Marchant had added in his 1486-edition, like for instance the four musicians, legate and duke.

Even though the woodcuts were created by the same man and reproduce the same mural on the cemetery wall in St. Innocents, they are not identical. This is also true for the structure of the images, where Vérard's images feature a vertical column in the middle of each scene. This column doesn't really separate the couples since the cadaver on the right side almost constantly reaches out to the dancer on the left (image in the top, left corner).

This edition with five pages in colour was printed 1491/92.
Antoine Vérard, Danse Macabre

The content is very much like that of Marchant's books (which was also stated in the colophon): The 30 dancers from the cemetery wall in St. Innocents with an authority at the beginning and the end. The final authority has an extra verse, »Bon y fait penser soir et main«, which does not appear in the old manuscripts, and which Guy Marchant didn't feature before the 1486-edition.

Then comes the legend of the three living and three dead (this must be the »plusieurs nouueaux personnages« that were mentioned in the colophon). Thereupon a ballad with 3 × 16 + 5 lines and the refrain: »Homme deffait et a perdicion«, and finally a Latin poem of 5 lines, which is attributed to Jean de Rochechouart, and which praises the art of printing (this then must be the promised »beaux dits«). Finally comes (the remains of) the colophon that we have already seen.

The publication to right is different. It consists of a frontispiece with the French armour and 5 pages. The pages are quite large, 56 × 39 cm, so the 5 pages are sufficient for the authority, the thirty dancers, the dead king, the three living and the three dead. There is no colophon.

Danse Macabre
Antoine Vérard 1486: Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Antoine Vérard 1486: Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Antoine Vérard 1486: Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Antoine Vérard 1486: Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Antoine Vérard 1486: Danse Macabre
Carthusian and sargent
Antoine Vérard 1492: Carthusian and sargent
Monk and usurer
Antoine Vérard 1492: Monk and usurer
Lawyer and minstrel
Antoine Vérard 1492: Lawyer and minstrel
Priest and peasant
Antoine Vérard 1492: Priest and peasant
Franciscan monk and child
Antoine Vérard 1492: Franciscan monk and child
Frontispiece
Antoine Vérard 1492: Frontispiece
Authority
Antoine Vérard 1492: Authority
Pope and emperor
Antoine Vérard 1492: Pope and emperor
Cardinal and king
Antoine Vérard 1492: Cardinal and king
Patriarch and constable
Antoine Vérard 1492: Patriarch and constable
Archbishop and knight
Antoine Vérard 1492: Archbishop and knight
Bishop and esquire
Antoine Vérard 1492: Bishop and esquire
Abbot and bailiff
Antoine Vérard 1492: Abbot and bailiff
Astrologer and citizen
Antoine Vérard 1492: Astrologer and citizen
Canon and merchant
Antoine Vérard 1492: Canon and merchant
Carthusian and sergeant
Antoine Vérard 1492: Carthusian and sergeant
Monk and usurer
Antoine Vérard 1492: Monk and usurer
Physician and suitor
Antoine Vérard 1492: Physician and suitor
Lawyer and minstrel
Antoine Vérard 1492: Lawyer and minstrel
Parish priest and peasant
Antoine Vérard 1492: Parish priest and peasant
Franciscan monk and child
Antoine Vérard 1492: Franciscan monk and child
Clerk and hermit
Antoine Vérard 1492: Clerk and hermit
Dead king and authority
Antoine Vérard 1492: Dead king and authority
The three dead
Antoine Vérard 1492: The three dead
The three living
Antoine Vérard 1492: The three living
Quentell
Antoine Vérard 1497: Quentell

External links

Further information


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