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A: Paris, Île-de-France, France

Jean Cousin the Elder Issues "Livre de perspective"

1560
<p>The frontispiece of the platonic solids in Jean Cousin's Livre de perspective is considered one of the finest examples of mannerist book illustration.</p>

The frontispiece of the platonic solids in Jean Cousin's Livre de perspective is considered one of the finest examples of mannerist book illustration.

In 1560 French painter, sculptor, etcher, engraver, and geometrician, Jean Cousin the Elder, published Livre de perspective in Paris at the press of Jean Le Royer. The folio volume includes a woodcut title device, a frontispiece of platonic solids and 58 geometrical diagrams (16 full-page, 5 double-page) by Jean Le Royer and Aubin Olivier. The frontispiece of the platonic solids is one of the finest examples of mannerist book illustration.

“According to the printer’s introduction, leaf A3v, Le Royer received from Cousin the text and ‘les figures pour l’intelligence d’iceluy necessaries, portraittes de sa main sus planches de bois,’ and he himself cut most of Cousin’s blocks and completed others which his brother-in-law, Aubin Olivier, had started. Several of the diagrams are extended into landscapes with figures. . . . Le Royer held the title of king’s printer for mathematics. Cousin is known to have been a successful painter and designer of stained glass windows. . . . His considerable reputation as a designer of woodcuts for the Paris printers has been developed chiefly by comparison of details from this volume” (Mortimer, Harvard College Library Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts Part I. French Sixteenth Century Books (1964)no. 157, quote from pp. 195-97). 

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