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Collection of plates on The Sciences, The Liberal Arts, and The Mechanical Arts, with explanations

In the ambitious endeavour of enlightenment, Denis Diderot and Jean d’Alembert, with the collaboration of specialists, publish (1751-1766) the 17 volumes of the Encyclopedia, based on new values: Tolerance, Nature, Science, Progress and Happiness on Earth.Between 1762 and 1772, 11 volumes are published in folio, which contain 2,569 engravings illustrating the entries. In total, 63 painters and printmakers co-operate for this task under the direction of Louis Jacques Goussier, other than the artists from the past whose works have been used. In Volume II, Part II with over 200 etchings and engravings, there are 25 entries the most important of which, with many pictures, are: Hunting, Chemistry, Surgery and Design.

The frontispiece, which was sent as a donation to subscribers after the publishing of the volumes, represents a complex allegorical scene. Beneath its Ionic Temple, the Truth stands enveloped in a veil and radiating light which parts the clouds and disperses them. Reason and Philosophy raise and tear it away. Theology, kneeling at her feet, receives the light from on high. On the left, there is Imagination and below her the allegories of poetry.

Below poetry there are Music, Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Gathered around Theology there is Memory, History (Modern and Ancient), and right below History who is writing, and Time serves as the support of the book. Below Theology are grouped Geometry, Astronomy, and Physics. The figures below this group represent Optics, Botany, Chemistry, and Agriculture. At the bottom are several Arts and Professions which derive from the Sciences.

Collective, under the direction of Jacques-Louis
Goussier (1722 – 1799),
Collection of plates on The Sciences, The Liberal Arts, and
The Mechanical Arts, with explanations – 2nd of the 11
volumes of plates-illustrations for the publication of
Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopaedia or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and
Crafts, 1751-1771 (1762: 1st volume of plates)
A Paris, chez Briasson, David, Le Breton, Durand,
Engravings from Jacques-Louis Goussier’s personal
drawings or from art works by famous artists,
engraved by Benoît-Louis Prévost (ca 1735 – 1804),
Aubin (? – ?) and mainly Robert Bénard (1734 – ?)
(himself or printmakers of his workshop when
«Benard direxit» is written)
201 engravings bound in book form
Pages without numbers
In folio (43.5 cm x 27 cm)
Various and French schools
No 925 – Acquisition 2010

Title page of the 2nd volume of plates

Entry Dessein (Drawing), Expressions des passions (Expression of the passions), engraving (from drawings by
Charles Lebrun (1619 – 1690), engraved by Robert

Entry Dessein (Drawing), Étude de Paysage (Landscape
study), etching and engraving (drawing by Titian (ca
1488 – 1576), engraved by Robert Bénard

Entry Dessein (Drawing), École de Dessein (School
of drawing), etching and engraving (drawing by
Jacques-Louis Goussier)