GRAPHIC NARRATION. ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE PARISIAN EDITION OF OVID'S 'METAMORPHOSES' (1637) FROM THREE COPIES IN POLISH COLLECTIONS
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The article is dedicated to the cycle of fifteen full-page, simultaneous copperplates adorning the 1637 Parisian edition of Ovid's 'Methamorphoses'. The illustrations, together with a folio with a portrait of Ovid and an additional title page, were reprinted from the English translation by George Sandys published in 1632 in Oxford. Unfortunately, the Polish collections contain no copy of this English edition. The engravings by Francis Cleyn and Salomon Savery we could only admire in the Parisian volumes preserved in the Warsaw University Library and the Czartoryski Library in Krakow. A third copy, formerly belonging to the Gymnasium at Nysa and at present incorporated to the Warsaw National Library, contains no illustrations. They were torn off and are to be seen in the Nysa Museum. Francis Cleyn and Salomon Savery depicted most of the traditional plots on merely fifteen engravings, which has its positive as well as negative consequences. Simultaneous composition seems to be of less artistic value, crowded with too many plots presented concurrently. In addition, the scenes in the background are less readable. On the other hand, however, the simultaneism gives the impression that we are looking at a visual equivalent of verbal narration and that every engraving represents a book of the 'Methamorphoses' 'written' in 'the silent language of pictures'.
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