A Treatise on the Art of Painting

London: Published and Sold by Edward Orme.. 1817.

Two volumes. 4to. 270x205mm. pp. viii, 296; 294. Seventy-one engraved plates. Contemporary straight-grained dark blue morocco, borders in gilt and blind to upper and lower covers. Spine with four raised bands, decorated and lettered in gilt. Small round shelf label to foot of spine of volume one. All edges gilt. Seventy-one plates. Additional engraved illustrated title page to volume two. Slight scuffing to boards in two places and minor rubbing to extremities. Internally some browning and foxing but overall a very good copy in a handsome binding. Lairesse (1641-1711) was a major figure in the art world of the Dutch Golden Age. He began his career as a painter, influenced initially by Rembrandt (who painted him - the portrait is in the Metropolitan in New York) and, later, by the French masters, especially Poussin. In 1690 he lost his sight due to congenital syphilis and so concentrated on art theory, writing two important works on the subject, Grondlegginge Ter Teekenkonst (1701) and Het Groot Schilderboek (1707) The Treatise on the Art of Painting is the English version of the second of these. Lairesse's theories departed from the practice of much Dutch seventeenth-century painting: he argued that serious painting should not represent everyday life but rather address high-minded historical, religious and mythological themes. Lairesse was an important influence on eighteenth-century artists, particularly in England where "The Grand Manner" was adopted as the ideal.

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