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Nicolas Maréchal (1753 -1803)



Nicolas Maréchal (1753 -1803)

The present work is an original watercolour, formerly from a group of painted illustrations commissioned by Bernard-Germain-Étienne Delaville Comte de Lacépède (1756- 1825) and the Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) to illustrate their publication titled: “La Ménagerie du Museum d’Histoire Naturelle ou Description et Histoire des Animaux”, first printed 1801 and later considered one of the finest examples of eighteenth-century French natural history. A group of artists were employed to produce images of the finest quality for the text, led by the Dutch painter Gerard van Spaendonck. This included Nicolas Maréchal (1753-1803), Nicolas Huet (1770-1830) and Léon de Wailly (1801-1824), each renowned for skilled draughtsmanship. The book, printed at the height of the French Enlightenment, aimed to advance the study and interest in natural history. Following the example of Diderot’s and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia, it surveys the exotic and wild animals held in the Natural History Museum of Paris around 1800. Importantly to the scientific nature of this work, all the animals presented were drawn from a live specimen. They are individually illustrated and examined with a text from Cuvier or Lacépède. The watercolour  of the dromedary was engraved in copper by Simon Charles Miger (1736- 1820). Simon Charles Miger was a royal academician and a talented engraver, who executed numerous portraits and natural history plates.

Litterature:
Published in: La Ménagerie du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, Lacépède, Cuvier et Geoffroy, Miger, Paris, 1804, p. 139
See also: Florence F.J.M. Pieters Artis-Bibliotheek, Université d'Amsterdam, Pays-Bas, “La Ménagerie du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle» par Lacépède, Cuvier & Geoffroy. I. Historique de l’impression et description bibliographique des éditions françaises in-folio”, in Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 51 (2) 1981, pp.  219-249
 
Provenance:
Private collection, Southern Germany
Nicolas Maréchal (1753 -1803)
Price on request
Period
1800
Material
watercolor on parchment
Dimensions
20.5 x 25.2 cm

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