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Entre Réforme et Contre-Réforme: Les Imagines et figurae Bibliorum de Pieter van der Borcht et Hendrik Jansen van Barrefelt

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[Thanks to the work of A. Hamilton and P. Visser we now know far more about the origins of the first edition, and the history of new editions and later reprints, of the Imagines et figurae Bibliorum, a collection of engravings on copper by Pieter van der Borcht, accompanied by commentaries by the Familist heresiarch Hendrik Jansen van Barrefelt, alias Hiël. Initiated by Plantin in the early 1580s, the definitive edition of the Imagines was not issued until the early 1590s when Raphelengius decided to publish it with fake dates and fake names. Hitherto attention has been focussed mainly on the history of the work and its reception in the Northern Netherlands in the seventeenth century. Very little has been said, on the other hand, about the significance of the first edition in the context of Plantin's publishing policy, between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. The subtle relationship established between the text and the image, together with the sources by which Hiël and Van der Borcht were inspired, not to mention the connections of the work with a series of other contemporary publications, have never received their due from specialists in the history of the book, historians of ideas, or historians of iconography. This article seeks to show that, far from being isolated from the rest of the production of the Officina plantiniana, the Imagines provides the key to the spiritual atmosphere which prevailed in Plantin's circle, impregnated as it was with the spiritualist doctrine of the Family of Love. We can say still more. The interplay between image and text reveals a vision of the world peculiar to that same circle and which was to inform other illustrated bibliographical genres such as the emblem books and the geographical atlases in which Plantin's firm specialised and to which it owed much of its success., Thanks to the work of A. Hamilton and P. Visser we now know far more about the origins of the first edition, and the history of new editions and later reprints, of the Imagines et figurae Bibliorum, a collection of engravings on copper by Pieter van der Borcht, accompanied by commentaries by the Familist heresiarch Hendrik Jansen van Barrefelt, alias Hiël. Initiated by Plantin in the early 1580s, the definitive edition of the Imagines was not issued until the early 1590s when Raphelengius decided to publish it with fake dates and fake names. Hitherto attention has been focussed mainly on the history of the work and its reception in the Northern Netherlands in the seventeenth century. Very little has been said, on the other hand, about the significance of the first edition in the context of Plantin's publishing policy, between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. The subtle relationship established between the text and the image, together with the sources by which Hiël and Van der Borcht were inspired, not to mention the connections of the work with a series of other contemporary publications, have never received their due from specialists in the history of the book, historians of ideas, or historians of iconography. This article seeks to show that, far from being isolated from the rest of the production of the Officina plantiniana, the Imagines provides the key to the spiritual atmosphere which prevailed in Plantin's circle, impregnated as it was with the spiritualist doctrine of the Family of Love. We can say still more. The interplay between image and text reveals a vision of the world peculiar to that same circle and which was to inform other illustrated bibliographical genres such as the emblem books and the geographical atlases in which Plantin's firm specialised and to which it owed much of its success.]

10.1163/157006999X00022
/content/journals/10.1163/157006999x00022
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006999x00022
1999-01-01
2016-12-08

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