Gilles Corrozet (1510-1568)
on the call number to view the digital facsimile of
: C'est à dire les descriptions de cent figures
& hystoires …
As the title indicates, Corrozet’s book includes
one hundred emblems, each with a woodcut figure, a
title, a brief verse epigram, and a longer verse explanation
on the facing page. Denys Janot printed four editions
of this work by Corrozet between 1540 and 1544, all
using the same woodcut blocks. A noted Parisian printer
of illustrated books, Janot also published Corrozet’s
emblematic Tableau de Cebes de Thebes
(Gordon 1543 .K43), which
includes some woodcuts from the Hecatongraphie.
Catalogue of Books of Emblems in the Library of Robert
Hoe (1908) describes a “second issue” of
the 1543 edition, identified by the spelling in the colophon
of “Hecatongraphie” and “contre”
with an “n” and one case of reset type on the
last page of the text. There are also typographical differences
on the title page. According to Stephen Rawles, based on
typographical evidence, this second issue of 1543 was actually
printed in 1544. 1 The Gordon copy of Corrozet’s
Hecatongraphie exhibits the variants associated
with the 1544 printing date.
Corrozet’s themes include many proverbs and
moral lessons prevalent in the French emblem books of the
day, and can tell us much about the values shared by the
reading public of the Renaissance:
“La fin nous fait
tous egaux” (file #0059-0060),
for example, uses a game of chess to illustrate the
lesson that death is the great equalizer of men.
In “Faire tout par moyen,”
(file #0149-0150), the myth of Icarus and Daedalus
teaches of the need for moderation in all things.
The image of a naked woman chasing birds in “Nature
foeminine” (file #0177-0178) underscores
the common 16th-century belief in the “flighty”
nature of women.
entry number F.195 in A Bibliography of French Emblem
Books, by Adams, Rawles and Saunders (Geneva:
Droz, 1999), as well as Rawles’ article, “Corrozet’s
Hecatomgraphie: where did the woodcuts come from
and where did they go?” in Emblematica 3.1
Modern facsimile and critical edition:
Corrozet, Gilles. Hecatongraphie, 1544
; &, Les emblemes du Tableau de Cebes (1543)
/ Gilles Corrozet ; reproduits en facsimilé
avec une étude par Alison Adams.
Genève : Droz, 1997.
French Emblems at Glasgow includes a facsimile and transcription of the 1540 edition of the Hecatomgraphie, along with information about Corrozet, the publication history of this work, and a select secondary bibliography: http://www.emblems.arts.gla.ac.uk/french/books.php?id=FCGa&o=
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