As already indicated in the general introduction, the life and work of the eighteenth-century French printmaker Bernard Picart is relatively well documented by his contemporaries.[1] The Éloge Historique finishes as follows:

‘Finally, allow me to end with this small but just praise, which was given to him by one of his intimate friends [undoubtedly Prosper Marchand]. Everyone knows, and most of his works prove, that he excelled in the beautiful invention & the beautiful order of the subjects that he had to deal with, the engraving of small pieces, like his epithalames, his vignettes, his cul-de-lampe/tail pieces, of a soft & sociable character, only occupied with his study & his homework. Good citizen, good friend, good head of family: in one word, a perfectly honest man, even more worthy of the esteem of honest people, than of the approval of connoisseurs.’[2]

Bernard Picart was born in Paris on the 11th of June 1673 between 22.00 and 23.00 h at the rue Saint-Jacques.[3] He received his first instructions from his father, the graveur du roi Etienne Picart (1632-1721),[4] and from Benoît Audran the elder (1661-1721) whose drawings Picart mimicked at a young age.[5]

In 1689, Etienne Picart sent his son to the Académie royale de peinture et sculpture to master all the facets of drawing under the leadership of Sébastien Leclerc (I) (1637-1714). According to the ‘Éloge historique’ Picart entered the Académie in 1689 and received an award two years later from Charles le Brun.[6] This must have been a misunderstanding because the last award ceremony by Charles le Brun took place on 24 September 1689, and it is not likely that Picart received such a prestigious prize the same year he was admitted to the Académie. Moreover, Picart is, as far as I know, not mentioned as a prize winner in the documents concerning the history of the Académie, and the drawing with which he won the prize is not known. Etienne Picart introduced his son to several painters in the Académie, including Charles de Lafosse (1637-1714), René Antoine Houasse (1644-1710), Jean Jouvenet (1644-1717) and Antoine Coypel (1661-1722). All these artists have influenced Picart’s artistic development. Of particular importance was the contact with the ‘Académicien honoraire’ Roger de Piles (1635-1709).

        Initially, Picart had little sense of making prints, which required a lot of time and patience. He rather wanted to become a draughtsman or a painter, but because his father already owned a successful workshop for printmaking, he eventually decided to follow in his footsteps. This must have been around 1693, because Picart’s first signed print dates from that year (Fig. Hermaphrodite after Poussin). But his first assignment of which he was very proud must have been the tomb/memorial grave of Richelieu by Girardon. The sculptor had asked Picart to make four drawings and engravings of the different views of the monument. Picart made two drawings, but they could not agree on the price. After some barren attempts to find someone else, the sculptor decided to return to Picart, because his work was the most satisfying.

Mais quelque tems après Mr. Girardon ayant été obligé de revenir a lui , soit qu’il ne trouvât alors personne capable de mieux faire , sôit que d’autres n’eussent pas réuni à son gré , à causè de la difficulté qu’il y a à dessiner dans un endroit où le jour vient de tous côtez ; ils convinrent enfin de Prix , tant pour le Dessein , que pour la Gravure, des deux autres vues : 8c Picart, les ayant très bien exécutées , y mit sôn nom comme Dessinateur tte. comme Graveur. Mr. Ch. Simonneau , Graveur célèbre , à qui l’on avoir donné les deux premières à graver , voulut en user de même à leur égard ; 8c quelques remontrances qu’on pût lui faire à ce iujet, par une de ces foiblesses dont les meilleurs Esprits ne sont pas toujours exemts , il s’obstina a soutenir la prétention , & Picart y consèntit. Les quatre Desseins de ce Tombeau sont faits au Pinceau avec de la Sanguine détrempée. I l dessina encore pour Mr. Girardon le tombeau de Mrs. de Caflellan, qui est à l’Abbaye

Mr. Ch. Simonneau, famous engraver, who was given the first two to engrave, wanted to use the same for them; 8c some remonstrances that could be made to him on this subject, by one of those weaknesses of which the best Spirits are not always exempt, he persisted in supporting the pretension, and Picart agreed.

At the end of September 1696, Picart left for the Republic for unknown reasons. In the course of the journey he spent the winter in Antwerp, where he won the Prix du dessein of the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten.[7] Unfortunately nothing is known about the circumstances, nor about the prize winning drawing. It has been suggested Picart went to England, but this is a mistake based on an account in a letter of September 1698 written by Daniel Cronström to Nicodème Tessin le Jeune:

‘Je n’entreprends cette foit cy que de repondre à l’article des graveures; je n’en ménageroy un nomé Piccard, don’t j’ay parlé cy devant. Il es ten Angleterre. Il est de plus bon dessignateur, qualité qui manque à nos graveurs de France pour l’architecture’.[8]

From spring 1697 until December 1698 Picart stayed in Amsterdam, after which he returned to Paris because of his mother’s death and illness of his father.

He married Claudine Prost on April 23, 1702. The amateur and critic Roger de Piles (1635-1709) became the godfather of their first son, but sadly the baby boy died soon.[9] In 1708, Picart’s wife also died (Fig overlijdensbericht Prost),[10] after which he decided to leave France.[11]


Two circumstances must have stimulated Picart to leave Paris. Crucial was his criticism of certain rituals in the Roman church, but also the fact that in France at that moment there was little interesting work for (reproductive) printmakers.[12]

In the ‘Éloge historique’ all the official obstacles which Picart had to overcome to cross the French border are described in remarkable detail. The author of the ‘Éloge’ was probably proud of Picarts efforts to leave France.

During his first stay in the Netherlands (1697-1698), Picart read a dissertation of the Protestant minister Jean Claude (1619-1687) about the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.[13] His interest was awakened and back in Paris he wanted to read more about this subject. Conversations with an (unknown) abbot confirmed his faith in the opinions of the reformers.[14] Meanwhile Picart got acquainted with a bibliographer with similar ideas.[15] Although his name is not explicitly mentioned in the ‘Éloge’, he must be Prosper Marchand, who became Picart’s closest friend. Both considered to leave France.

As early as 1696, Picart had received attractive proposals to work for the Swedish court. An exchange of letters between the Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin Jr. (1654-1728) and his compatriot diplomat Daniel Cronström (1655-1719) reports on the often difficult negotiations to get skilled printmakers to Sweden.[16] The letters in which Picart is discussed include two periods: from 1696 to 1698 and from 1709 to 1719. The first series concerns nine letters which briefly mention the progress of the negotiations with Picart to bring him to Sweden.[17]

In September 1696, Cronström wrote to Tessin that two printmakers were eligible to travel: Bernard Picart and Benoît Audran. Picart was praised for his drawings, but Benoît had already become more famous as a printmaker.[18]

From the ‘Éloge’ one gets the impression that Picart wanted to go, but nothing happened. Perhaps it was due to his father’s disease in 1698, that he decided to return to Paris to take over the workshop. Ten years later, in a second series of letters, Picart took the initiative to renegotiate. In a letter of July 1, 1709, Cronström wrote to Tessin Jr. that the printmaker still wanted to leave France for Sweden. Apparently Picart was quite sure of a successful career there or he was desperate to leave, because he did not make any job requirements. He would travel at his own expense and ask no wages until the return of the king (Charles XII) or the peace. In 1709 Sweden was involved in the Great Northern War. (1700-1721), involving the supremacy of Sweden as the leading power in the Baltic region. [19]

He also promised to bring his most beautiful prints and copper plates. At Picart’s request, Cronström took care of a passport.[20] Just before the passport was delivered, police officer René d’Argenson was alarmed that Picart had used the job offered to him in Sweden as an excuse to leave the country because of his new faith.[21] Then the king prohibited his departure. Picart protested and at the request of D’Argenson, he showed his work, including the Cachet de Michelange (Fig. Cachet de Michelange and Picart’s print), which just came fresh from the printing press.[22]

To show a print after a carved stone was well thought out by Picart, because D’Argenson was a member the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, where they studied numismatics and carved stones. Picart also showed a number of papers proving that he was a serious catholic, and eventually he got his passport which was only valid for one week. So he and his father Etienne departed with all speed on January 8, 1710 . [23]

Through Antwerp they travelled to Rotterdam, where the trip to Sweden could begin. However, the political situation was so precarious that Picart decided to stay in the Republic.[24]

Although Picart wanted the French government to believe differently, his protestant sympathies must have been a stimulus to leave France. But, as said before, Parisian printmakers couldn’t easily get a job at the beginning of the eighteenth century.[25] The successful career that Picart expected to meet in Sweden or in the Republic has certainly influenced his decision.

Picart apparently preferred a more tolerant living environment in the Republic, but there is no indication that he cherished negative feelings about his French background.

His ideas about the training of printmakers were firmly rooted in the French tradition and he introduced these ideas to the Republic, but I will return to this subject more elaborately later.

 The Netherlands

In the first year, from 1710 to 1711, Picart and Prosper Marchand rented a building in the Hoogstraat in The Hague, where they held a book and print shop.[26]

Marchand had already left Paris for the Hague in 1709 because of the anti-protestant threats. On 14 april 1710 they signed up in the Walloon church where they made the following statement.

‘Dieu leur ayant fait de la grâce, par la lecture de sa Sainte Parole, et de plusieurs bons livres, de connoître les erreurs de la Religion Romaine, ils ont renoncé des il y a plusieurs années à ses assemblées et à son culte superstitieux et idolâtre, se nourrissant entre eux et avec plusieurs autres de la bonne pâture, en puisant la vérité dans les sources pures, de sorte qu’enfin sur les soupçons qu’on a pris de leurs sentimens, ils ont été en danger d’être arrêtez, et obligez pour jouir d’une entière liberté de sortir leur Paris.’.[27]

Marchand left for Amsterdam between December 1710 and April 1711, and Picart soon followed him.[28]

The exact reason is not known, but it seems likely that both men moved to Amsterdam because this city was the most important centre of the book and print trade in the eighteenth century Republic.

Marchand soon moved to the city of Rotterdam, but Picart settled in Amsterdam. From 1711 to 1712 he lived in the Nes, then from May 1713 on the Singel over the Appelmarkt opposite the old Lutheran church with the sign L’étoile. Later he moved to the address ‘op de Cingel, op de hoek van de Beulingstraat H No 16’, today Singel 434, where Picart continued to live with his family until his death.[29] 

On September 9 1712, Picart and Anna Vincent (1684-1737?) gave notice of their intended marriage.[30] On September 25, 1712 the marriage took place in Haarlem. They had three daughters and a son Etienne, who died three days after birth (Fig. Baby Etienne drawing).[31]

Anna’s father, the wealthy paper dealer Ysbrand Vincent (1641-1718), was initially opposed to the marriage of his daughter with Picart. Ysbrand and his wife Anne Yver were well-acquainted with the Antwerp publisher Balthasar Moretus IV (1679-1730) and his wife. In an exchange of letters with Mrs Moretus, Anne Yver complains repeatedly about the stubborn disapproval  of the marriage by her husband.[32]

Ysbrand eventually reconciled himself with the choice of his daughter. In 1713, he was full of praise over his son-in-law’s work. Undoubtedly through his mediation Picart received the assignment to design title prints/frontispieces for plays performed by the classicist-oriented art society Nil Volentibus Arduum, in which Vincent was closely involved.[33]

On November 4, 1713, Picart was registered as a burgher (‘poorter’) of the city of Amsterdam with the occupation plate cutter (‘plaatsnijder’).[34] Three days later, on 27 November, he is mentioned in the ‘Boekverkopers-, Boekdrukkers-, en Boekbindersgildeboek’ as an art dealer.[35]

He was a serious hard worker and earned enough with his own print shop to provide his family with a well to do life. There is no indication that Picart dealed/traded in anything other than in prints, and in books illustrated by himself, most of them of a very high quality.

With five friends Picart came together every Monday evening to talk about art.[36] On occasion, they got so excited that sometimes they even forgot to empty the bottle of wine.[37]

The ‘Éloge historique’ reports that Picart felt ill on November 8, 1732. Despite the beneficial effect of donkey milk Picart died May 8, 1733, almost sixty years old. May 13 he was buried in the Walloon church.[38] One of his best friends commemorated him:

‘Tout le monde sait, et la pluspart de ses ouvrages prouvent, qu’il exelloit  dans la belle invention et la belle ordonnance des sujets qu’il avoit à traiter, dans l’exactitude et la correction du dessein, et principalement dans la délicatesse et la propreté de la gravure des petites pièces, comme ses épithalames, ses vignettes, ses culs-de-lampe, ses titres de livres, etc. Mais plus que tout cela, c’étoit un homme de moeurs très reglées, d’un caractère doux et sociable, uniquement o[c]cupe de son étude et de ses devoirs, bon citoyen, bon ami, bon chef de famille: en un mot, un parfaitement honnête-homme, plus digne encore de l’estime des honnêtes-gens, que de l’approbation des connoisseurs’.[39]

In addition to the praise pronounced at the funeral, Anna Picart has incorporated a memorial portrait in the Impostures innocentes (Fig. portrait picart impostures). In the ‘Avertissement’ she writes:

‘Et pour ne rien oublier de ce qui pouvoit contribuer à la satisfaction du public, & pour honnorer  la mémoire de ce cher défunt, j’ai mis son portrait à la tête de son éloge historique. Ce portrait est très ressemblant. On acheva de peindre mr. Picart, environ un mois avant qu’il tombe malade, & dans un tems qu’il se portoit parfaitement bien.’[40]

Picart’s memorial portrait is not only a tribute to his person, but also to his artistic legacy. Jacob van der Schley, the most important pupil of Picart, etched and engraved the print after a pastel of Matthäeus des Angles (1667-17410.[41] (Fig. 4).

In an oval frame, partially covered by a heavy drapery, is the portrait of a self-conscious Picart. Below, more in the foreground, some allegorical figures are depicted. Under the picture, this allegorical representation is explained in a text that can be regarded as a memorial speech in itself. [42]

‘L’histoire tenant négligablement un livre fermé, & tristement accoudée sur un table auprès de sa plume qu’elle a comme abbandonnée, parvit inconsolable de ce que les plus beaux de ses monumens ne seront plus consacrez au temple de la mémoire par cette illustre dessinateur. Le Génie du dessein pénétré de douleur, déplore amèrement sa porte, & celui de la gravure tâche de la consoler en lui faisant voir la couronne de l’immortalitée que des beaux ouvrages de ce grand maître lui ont si légitimement acquise.’

 After Picart’s death

After her husband’s death Anna Picart continued the business, which was not unusual in that time.

On May 3, 1734, she made a testimony, naming three executives and additionally ‘ […] tot raadgevende vrienden ten opzichte van de konst en de negotie van dien door haar man geëxerceerd […]’, Jean de Bary en Isaac Walraven.[43]

The paintings found in the house should not be sold publicly, but at ‘[…] occasie uit de hand […]’, and after advice from De Bary and Walraven.[44] Notwithstanding the paintings were sold publicly on the fifth of May 1737 after the death of Anna Picart.[45]

It involved 54 numbers corresponding to the number of paintings that belonged to the inventory.[46]  

The drawings had to be divided among the daughters after the youngest, Angélique became an adult, unless there was a buyer who wanted to give a good price for the complete collection. The prints of which Anna did not possess the copper plates, had to be sold to collectors as much as possible as ‘Oeuvres de B. Picart’. If this turned out not to be possible they had to be divided among the three daughters after the youngest, Angélique, became an adult, unless one of the daughters wanted to organize the sale, for which she would receive twenty percent. All prints and drawings of ‘French, Italian and native’ masters had to be sold publicly, in November or March and in Amsterdam. That happened, but the drawings that should have been distributed among the children, were also auctioned.[47]

The Avertissement in the catalogue indicates the possibility to turn to the agents or the heirs for those who are interested in the complete oeuvre or a coherent part of the drawings. Finally, it was determined that the copper plates had to be auctioned in Paris because Anna Picart thought they would raise more money there. As business associates she appointed the Parisian print dealers Pierre-François Giffart (1677-1758), Gaspard du Change (1662-1757), Louis Surugue (1686-1762) and Henri-Simon Thomassin (1687-1741). In June 1738, indeed, ‘une belle partie de planches de cuivre gravées la pluspart par Bernard Picart’ went under the hammer in Paris.[48]

        Anna Picart passed away on 5 March 1736, well-off, as one can see from the fact that he was buried first class in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. The estate inventory was made up on 17 April 1736 (see Appendix x). The daughters each received 10844.70 guilders, not an insignificant amount at that time.[49] The death of Anna Picart forever ended a flourishing print trade.

[1] Printed or handwritten texts, notes and letters by Picart himself are rare.

[2] ‘Enfin, qu’il me soit permis de finir par ce petit mais juste éloge, qui lui à été donné par un de ses intimes Amis [undoubtedly Prosper Marchand]. Tout le monde sait, & la pluspart de ses Ouvrages prouvent, qu’il excelloit dans la belle Invention & la belle Ordonnance des Sujets qu’il avoit à traiter, de la Gravure des petites Piéces, comme ses Epithalames, ses Vignettes, ses Culs-de-Lampe, d’un caractére doux & sociable, uniquement occupé de son étude & de ses devoirs. Bon Citoyen, bon Ami, bon Chef de Famille: en un mot, un parfaitement Honnête-Homme, plus digne encore de l’estime des Honnêtes-Gens, que l’approbation des Connoisseurs.’

[3] The birth certificate of Bernard Picart has, as far as I know, not yet been found. But there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of the information given in the ‘Éloge historique’, fol. A [1] recto in: Impostures innocentes 1734.

[4] Etienne Picart, married to Angélique Tournant, was a renowned print maker and publisher in Paris. Among other things, he worked for the ‘Cabinet du Roi’. Because he spent some time in Rome, he received the nickname ‘Le Romain’ to distinguish himself from the other Picarts. This suffix also occurs sometimes with the name of his son Bernard, although Bernard has never been to Italy.

[5] See ‘Éloge historique’, fol. A [1] recto in: Impostures innocentes 1734): ‘[…] Quant à la composition, il en est redevable à l’émulation qu’en fire naître en lui les premiers essais de Mr. Benoît Audran, qui demeuroit alors chez son père, & qui se récréoit les soirs à faire quelques esquisses de génie, Comme les enfans sont naturellement portez à imiter tout ce qu’ils voyent faire, le jeune Picart voulut aussi s’excercer de même; & il pouvoit avoir alors environ onze à douze ans. […]’. Benoit Audran I was the cousin of the renowned Gérard Audran (1640-1703).

[6] En 1689, ayant été envoyée â l’Académie de peinture, pour y apprendre à dessiner d’après nature, il y apprit aussi la perspective & l’architecture sous mr. Sébastien le Clerc, homme d’un rare mérite, & qui s’est extrêmement distingué par les différens ouvrages dont il a enrichi le public. […] Deux ans après B. Picart remporta le prix de l’Académie, & mr. Charles le Brun, des mains duquel il le reçut, l’encouragea par une exhortation des plus obligeantes à continuer sur le même ton.’ See ‘Éloge historique’, Fol. A [1] recto.

[7] ‘[…], où il gagna le prix du dessein à l’académie des beaux arts; & il eut de plus agrément de se voir demander la figure qui lui avoit valu ce prix, pour de se voir demander la figure qui lui avoit valu ce prix, pour être conservée parmi les beaux morceaux de cette académie. Elle lui fit encore l’honneur de le présenter, comme le meilleur dessinateur qu’elle eût pour lors, à l’Electeur de Cologne, qui vint alors la visiter. […]’. ‘Éloge historique’, fol. A [1] verso, p. 2, in : Impostures innocentes 1734. According to prof.dr. Jan Van der Stock (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) it is not clear where these price drawings have remained. Except for the prints made between 1696 and 1698 as mentioned in the ‘Catalogue’ in the Impostures innocentes, nothing else is known about that period. The Swedish diplomat Cronström wrote in a letter, dated 22 March 1697, to the architect Tessin Jr. that Picart stayed in Antwerp. In another letter from Cronström, February 8, 1699, Picart appears to have returned to Paris five weeks before.

For this correspondence see Weigert, Hernmarck 1964, p. 165, 22-3-1697; p. 205, 26/9-6/10-1698; p. 219, 8-2-1699.

[8] Weigert, Hernmarck 1964, p. 205 or 265. If he had spent time in England it would have been mentioned in the ‘Éloge historique’.

[9] Bernard Picart, Portrait of Roger Bernard Picart, 1703, red chalk, 207 x 150 mm, signed below: ‘Le Portrait de Roger Bernard Picart âgée de six mois dessiné par B. Picart son père en mois mil septent trois.’ Rijksmuseum : RP-T-1951-75.

[10] The death announcement of Claudine Prost is kept in the collection Marchand, Universty Library, inv. nr. Mar. 21:2(46).

[11] In a letter from Daniel Cronström to Nicodemus Tessin Jr., dated July 1, 1709, Cronström states that Bernard Picart wanted to take his entire family to Sweden, consisting of his old father and a little son. See n. x. ‘[…], mais qu’il méneroit toute sa famile qui consiste en son père avec un petit fils qu’il a, […].’. So far, I have not found a source referring to this particular son. In the ‘Éloge historique’, p. 4 however, one reads: ‘[…], sa femme & ses enfans étant morts, […]’. The plural of ‘enfans’ implicates there is more than one child, they were obviously all dead by the time he left Paris.

[12] At the beginning of the eighteenth century it was not easy to get a job in Paris for reproductive printmakers. Every ambitious printmaker desired to work for the ‘Cabinet du Roi’. Making prints of the royal collection was part of Colbert’s project to promote the power of Louis XIV in Europe/outside France. However, the rising debts of the state had consequences for the employment of printmakers. See Saint-Germain 1965, pp. 136-151.

[13] Van der Aa 1969, dl. 3, pp. 411-415. J. Claude, Réponse aux deux traitez intitulé la perpétuité de la foij de l’église catholique touchant l’eucharistie. […] Charenton : Antoine Cellier, 1665. See Catalogue de livres curieux tant en françois qu’en Latin &c., Amsterdam: J. F. Bernard en S. Schouten, 13-11-1733, p. 101, nr. 10. Picart owned this study, as well as other critical publications concerning the Eucharist. After the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685 the author, the French protestant minister Jean Claude, fled to the Netherlands.

[14] ‘Éloge historique’, fol. A 2, p. 3-4 in : Impostures innocentes 1734. ‘[…]. La première personne à qui il s’en ouvrit, fut un abbé de ses amis, avec qui il eut divers entretiens à ce sujet; ne lui alluéguant néanmoins les raisons des réformez qu’en tierce personne, ils disent ceci, ils répondent cela. Ces entretiens, aussi bien que ceux qu’il eut avec diverses autres personnes, ne firent que les confirer dans la pensée où il étoit que les réformez étoient mieux fondez dans leurs opinions, que les catholiques-romains. D’ailleurs, ayant fait connoisance avec un libraire, qui étoit à peu près dans les même sentimens, & qui lui prétoit les livres dont il pouvoit avoir besoin, ils cherchèrent à s’éclaircir mutuellement de leurs doutes. Convaincus enfin de la nécessité d’abandonner une religion, dans laquelle ils ne pouvoient plus que trahir leur conscience, ils s’y déterminèrent, non seulement sans aucune peine, mais même avec tout le dévouement que demandoit une semblable résolution. Ils firent plus; ils prirent celle de sortir de leur patrie, quelque agréable qu’elle leur peut être d’ailleurs: & l’on peut dire que Dieu dirigea toutes choses pour que B. Picart pût le faire sans regret, & sans être retenu par les liens de la chair & du sang, ni par un intérêt temporel. En effet, sa femme & ses enfans étant morts, & le tems devenant tous les jours plus mauvais, rien ne pouvoit plus la retenir que la personne de son père, âgé pour lors de près de 80. ans: mais Dieu daigna l’éclairer de même, & cela, par l’entremise & les soins de son fils. In the ‘Éloge historique’ is explained that Picart is using the third-person when talking about this matter, undoubtedly because the abbé should not get the impression that Picart would renounce his catholic faith. It was precisely in this period that protestants had a hard time in France. Picart must have been aware of the risk he was at.

[15] Berkvens-Stevelinck 1987, p.1-11.

[16] From 1690/91 to 1714 there was a correspondence between Daniël Cronström en Nicodemus Tessin jr. It is published in Weigert, Hernmarck 1964. Most letters are in French. The secondary passages, such as courtesy forms and shipping instructions have been omitted.

[17] Weigert, Hernmarck 1964, p. 146, 20/10-9-1696, DC aan NT; p. 154, 9-10-1696, DC aan NT; p. 157, 159, 20-1-1697, NT to DC; p. 162, 7-3-1697, DC to NT; p. 165, 22-3-1697, DC to NT; p. 204, 26/16-9-1697, DC to NT; p. 205, 26/9-6/10-1698, DC to NT; p. 219, 8-2-1699, NT to DC; p. 246, 20/30-10-1699, DC to NT. DC = Daniël Cronström, NT = Nicodemus Tessin jr.

[18] Although Cronström is not explicit, he seems to prefer Picart, of whom he appreciates his skill in drawing. ‘[…] Tous deux sont d’un génie et d’une réputation à augmenter tous les jours, et tous deux très honnestes gens, et tous les deux dans la vigueur de leur âge. Si vous me donner le choix, j’entreroy dans un examen encore plus détaillé de leur fort et faible, et je ne feroy rien dont je craigne des reproches ce que je scais à présent. Le Picard est plus routiné dans le dessein des figures à la Vandermeule que l’autre; pour la graveure, Mr. Audran a un peu plus d’acquit, mais le Piccard est si fort employé aussi que sa réputation et son scavoir augmentent tous les jours. […]’. See Weigert, Hernmarck 1964, p. 146.

[19] See R. I. Frost, The Northern Wars. War, State and Society in Northeastern Europe, 1558–1721 (Harlow: Longman, 2000).

[20] ‘Éloge historique’, fol. A 2, verso p. 4-fol. A [2], recto p. 5 in : Impostures innocentes 1734. Part of the account consists of quotes that have probably been added to make the text more lively.

[21] Éloge historique’, p. 4-5 and a letter from Cronström to Tessin, dated 22 november 1709. Marc-René de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson (1652-1721) became lieutenant-general of police in 1697. He directed the destruction of the Jansenist monastery of Port Royal in 1709. Saint-Germain 1965.

[22] On the history of this carved stone and the print see chapter see ch. x., p. x.

[23] With the help from Jacques le Hay, ingénieur du roi and husband of the aforementioned Elisabeth Sophie Chéron, for whom the print was made. Le Hay showed it to D’Argenson, who was so impressed that he promised Picart work. D’Argenson wrote to Colbert that he could not think of any reason to refuse Picart his passport. But Pierre de Clairambault offered Picart a job on behalf of De Torcy. He could make prints of the Armoires des Chevaliers de l’Ordre du Saint Esprit. From 1668 The Clairambault took care of the pedigree research of the king, and collected and documented his whole life materials for this purpose. Picart refused because on the one hand he did not find this work appropriate, and on the other hand he knew this job had already been promised to his teacher, Sébastien Leclerc. De Clairambault replied that Sébastien Leclerc himself recommended him, but Picart showed a map with prints that he had made after paintings from the Cabinet du Roi. It is likely that it concerns prints after Poussin, Le Brun and Rubens, that he made in this period. He requested a job and a lodging in Versailles, so that he could continue to copy the royal collections, or to give him a passport. De Torcy then presented the case to the  Duc D’Antin (Louis Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin 1665–1736), 1st duke of Antin (1711)), directeur général des Bâtiments du Roi, Académies et Manufactures (1708), who was in charge of Versailles.

[24] See ‘Éloge historique’, Fol B [1] recto, p. 5. ‘Il auroit pu continuer son voyage jusqu’en Suède dans la saison suivante, mais les affaires de ce royaume se trouvèrent alors dans un si grand déragement, que tout le dissuada de s’y transporter, vû l’apparence presque indubitable de n’y point trouver d’occupation, & d’en trouver beaucoup en Hollande.’ May 16, 1710 Cronström writes to Tessin jr. that he is expecting an answer soon. July 4, 1710, there is still no answer. But August 20, 1710 Tessin writes: ‘[…] Tant que nos affaires sont dans la situation présente il vaut mieux que mr. Picart le graveur soit resté en Ollande […]’. And so he did.

[25] Grivel 1986.

[26] Van Eeghen 1967, dl. 4, p. 41; Berkvens-Stevelinck 1978, p. XXIV; Berkvens-Stevelinck 1987, pp. 2-4.

[27] The Hague, Gemeente-Archief, archief van de Waalse gemeente 101: 14 april 1710. Published in Berkvens-Stevelinck 1978, p. 39, n. 105; Berkvens-Stevelinck 1987, p.2.

[28] Picart and Marchand were involved together with some other bookpublishers in the establishment of one of the quasi-philosophical societies that were quite popular in the first half of the eighteenth century. See a document in the British Library, MssADD, 4295, ff. 18-19: Extraits des registres du chapître général de chevaliers de la jubilation, tenu à la Gaillardin, maison de l’ordre. It was signed on November, 24 1710 by ‘Bernard Picart, barbouilleur et enlumineur de l’ordre’ (dauber and illuminator) and ‘Prosper Marchand, sécrétaire de l’ordre’. Gaillardin (playful cheerfulness) is the name of the place where they came together. This name clearly shows the playful character of this society. Picart’s contribution was presumably minimal, but he obtained good contacts. See Jacob 1970 en Berkvens-Stevelinck 1983. Berkvens-Stevelinck shows convincingly that this company has nothing to do with Freemasonry as Jacob suggests. Berkvens-Stevelinck 1987, p. 3.

[29] Van Eeghen 1967, vol. 4, p. 41. The late prof. dr. P.J.R. Modderman traced the number of the house for me. Zie ook Begraafregister Amsterdam Walenkerk, Stadsarchief Amsterdam 13-5-1733: ‘1733 | 13 dito [Maij] | Woonsd. || Bernard Picart, op de Cingel, op de hoek van de Beulingstraat. H.No. 16. | 15 –

[30] Fontaine-Verwey 1934, p. 32; Bille 1960, p. 200; Van Eeghen 1978, dl. 4, p. 44-45. Akte van ondertrouw 9-9-1712, Den Haag, Rijksarchief, Archief van de Waalse kerk 178/359: ‘Acte verleend | den 25 Sept. | 1712 om ter | Haerlem | te Trouwen || Compareerden als vooren Bernard Picart van Parijs, Wedr | Cloudina Pros, in de Nes & Anna Vincent Van | Angoûleme oud 28 Jare, op de Cingel geassr met | haer Vader Eijsbrant Vincent || Versoekende hare drie Sondaagse uytropeingen, omme naar deselve, de voorz. trouwe te | Soleman seren , en in alles te voltrekken. So verre daar anders gene wettige verhinderinge | voor en valle. En naar dien sy by waarheyd verklaarden, dat sy vrye Personen waren, en malkanderen in bloede niet en bestonden, waar door een Christelijk Huwelijk mochte | verhindert worden, zijn hun hare geboden verwilliget. Bernard Picart | Anna Vincent´

Huwelijkse voorwaarden 22-9-1712: Amsterdam, Stadsarchief, Notaris Ardinois 5435, 431. Wordt gedigitaliseerd. Testament 25-10-1713: Amsterdam, Stadsarchief, N. A. 6458, 120. Wordt gedigitaliseerd.

[31] Bernard and Anna Picart had one son and three daughters: Etienne 1713-1713; Anna 1714-?; Catharina 1716-1795; Angélique Hester 1717-1792. In the Rijksprentenkabinet is portrait of his son Etien[n]e who died after three days: Bernard Picart, portrait of his son Etien[n]e with closed eyes, [1713], red chalk, 193 x 207 mm, signed below: ‘Etiene Picart mort à trois jours’. RP-T-1951-77. He was born on 15-5-1713 and buried on 30-5-1713.

[32] The correspondence is kept in the archive of the Museum Plantijn-Moretus in Antwerp. See Sabbe 1928, pp. 208-210.

[33] On the history of Nil Volentibus Arduum see Dongelmans 1989. See also Inger Leemans in Bernard Picart and the first global vision of religion.

In Campo Weijerman Rotterdamsche Hermes, 26 juni 1721:

Uwe E: Vrient

Ouden Dyk den 28 dito.

Heer Besicles,

Waarschynelyk hebt gy aan de lectuur van de Wynkoopers journalen, aan de Dootceelen van St. Roselli, Patroon der Liqueurs, of de civile Requestenvan Mama Picart, in het opstel van uw’ brief niet gedacht. Doch dat overgeslagen. Hermes, die eertyts de oude Paleizen en vervalle Kerken visiteerde, heeft altoosgeremarkeert dat de ruiten diep in het loot gezakt en vreesselyk duister waren.

Uw E: Vrient

[34] Van Eeghen 1967, dl. 4, p. 41: 24-11-1713: behuwdpoorter als plaatsnijder; (Het archief bevat tevens voor de jaren 1670-1747 ingezetenenregisters, die in kopie op de studiezaal staan en toegankelijk zijn door middel van een index op persoonsnamen, beroepen en plaatsen van herkomst. Toegangsnummer 5033)

[35] Boekverkopers-, Boekdrukkers-, en Boekbindersgilde, Amsterdam, Stadsarchief, nr. 65 1662-1806, p. 16: ‘Bernard Piccard, konstverkoper, int Gild gekomen | den 27 Novembr 1713 en heeft zijn groote Burgerceel | als een burgersdogter getrout hebbende getoont.’

[36] It is tempting to think that this company is the chevaliers de la jubilation because they each consisted of Picart and five participants. It seems quite unlikely too that they were only talking about art, because all the chevaliers originated from the book world.

[37] ‘Éloge historique’, fol. C 2 verso, p. 12, in: Impostures innocentes 1734.

[38] Van Eeghen 1967, vol. 4, p. 41.

[39] ‘Éloge historique’, fol C 2 verso, p. 12.

[40] ‘Avertissment’, pp.2-3, in: Impostures innocentes 1734.

[41] In the ‘Catalogue de ses ouvrages’, in: Impostures innocentes this portrait is described as ‘Autre portrait du même, âgé de 59. ans, peint par M. de Angles, à Amsterdam en 1732, & gravé par Jaques vander Schley à Amsterdam en 1734’. (Oeuvre B. P. nr. 2). In the description of the Impostures innocentes at the end of the Catalogue, is mentioned that the portrait is after a pastel by Matthäus des Angles who resided in the Netherlands after 1702. In estate inventory of Anna Picart is mentioned: ‘een pourtrait van d’overledene heer Picart in pastel’. Estate inventory, 17-4-1736, Amsterdam, Stadsarchief Notaris Ardinois, 9126, 347, [p.5]. I have not yet traced this portrait in pastel.

[42] From left to right are the following titles to be recognized: Ste Bible: (Discours historique, critique, théologique et moreaux sur les événemens les plus mémorables du vieux et du nouveau testament van J. Saurin) and the frontispiece of this publication; ‘Oeuvre de B. Picart’; ‘Fontenelle’; ‘Boileau’; ‘Pierres antiques’ en ‘Cérémonies’. Further there is a drawing of a academy study of which Picart made a print for the Impostures innocentes. Prosper Marchand gave his advice in an undated letter to Picart’s widow: ‘[…] les titres sur la demi-estampe sont bien, exepte il faut mettre Ste Bible, le livre de Saurin etant Français. A oeuvres de Bernard Picart il faut ôter l’s, parce qu’on dit l’oeuvre d’un tel […]’. Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Mar. 2: Maichel/C. de Missi, Marchand à Picart veuve. I suppose that the subscription was written by Marchand, although a concept is not known, but he wrote more explications for Picart’s prints and he gave the assignment for the portrait to Jacob van der Schley, the most important pupil of Picart. On the relation Marchand, Picart and Van der Schley see Terwen 1985.

[43] Testament 3-5-1734, Amsterdam, Stadsarchief, Notaris Ardinois 9118, 373, [p.1].

[44] Testament 3-5-1734, Amsterdam, Stadsarchief, Notaris Ardinois 9118, 373, [p.3]: ‘Wijders, dat geen publique verkooping | van de schilderijen zal gehouden werden | maer wel bij occasie uijt de hand daer | van verkogt zo als best zal komen geschieden | volgens en omtrent de taxaties die zij | testatrice daer van gemaekt heeft dog | alles met raad en goedvinden van gemelde | Heeren Jean de Barij en Isaac Walraven.’

[45] The list is published in Hoet, Terwesten 1752-1770, dl. 1, pp. 560-562, but I have not yet found the original.

[46] Estate inventory 17-4-1736, Amsterdam, Stadsarchief, 9126, 347, [p. 13]: ‘Door het geheele huijs zo in de kamers als op de solder zijn bevonden vier en vijftig stuks schilderijen’.

[47] Sales catalogus Amsterdam 25-11-1737. Paul Dove from the Department of Prints and Drawings in het British Museum has been so kind to provide me with a copy of the salescatalogue. It is not complete, however. A complete version in Dutch is kept in the Getty Research Institute Research Library 1737 Nov 25 AmLaPi.

[48] Sales catalogue Parijs?-6-1738. The sale was announced in the Mercure de France of May 1738, p. 957.

[49] Estate inventory 17-4-1736, Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Notaris Ardinois 9126, 347; Property settlement 2-6-1736, Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Notaris Ardinois 9127, 532.

 [N3]Spelling nakijken in origineel.

 [N4]Spelling nakijken in origineel.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.