September 21, 2023


How Art Works

99/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (1): The Temple of Gnide

5 min read

Impressed by Howard S. Becker’s ‘Artwork Worlds’ (1), this new sequence of posts will discover the community of authors, publishers, editors and artists of illustrated publications, ceaselessly the origin for achievement of the e book. The primary instance is a novel entitled ‘Le Temple de Gnide’, surprisingly written by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755), higher often called Montesquieu, political scientist most well-known for his ‘L’Esprit des Lois’ with the essential precept of the separation of powers in democracies (2).

The recognition of ‘Le Temple de Gnide’ is attested by the numerous editions from 1748 to 1954. Fig.1 visualizes: A Timeline of Publishers(under the time-axis with out illustrations, above with variety of illustrations; B Community of Publishers and their DESIGNERS or DESIGNERS/ENGRAVERS; C Community of DESIGNERS and their ENGRAVERS.  See COMMENT nr 1.

Determine 1 ‘Le Temple de Gnide’: Timeline and Networks of publishers, designers and engravers (3)

Le Temple de Gnide was first printed anonymously in 1724 in Bibliothèque française, Amsterdam, the 12 months afterwards in Paris by Simart and in 1742 by Huart in London/Paris, illustrated for the primary time, most likely by Jacques DE SÈVE (energetic 1742-1788). It was twice rewritten in verse format: by Nicolas-Germain Léonard (Dufour 1773) and by Charles-Pierre Colardeau (Lejay 1774). The publications included usually one or two further quick tales, and the variety of illustrations diverged between 1 and 12. Illustrations in some editions don’t point out the designer or engraver, like usually in in style publications. The novel can also be included in lots of editions of Montesquieu’s different works and in his’Full Works’ (4). It was edited with intensive introductions concerning the lifetime of Montesquieu and the vital appraisal of the novel by Fernand de Marescot (Jouaust 1875) (5) and by Octave Uzanne (Lemonnyer 1881).

Determine 2

 Among the many designers Charles-Dominique-Joseph EISEN (1720 Valenciennes – 1778 Bruxelles) was the principal one, chosen by 7 publishers. His fundamental engraver was Noël LEMIRE (1724 Rouen – 1801 Paris) and likewise his writer for the version of 1772, together with a superb frontispiece with the top of Montesquieu and displaying within the left backside his three in style works: ‘Le Temple de Gnide’, ‘Lettres Persannes’ and ‘L’Esprit des Lois’and the allegorical determine of Justitia in the best backside nook (Fig.2).
Fig.3 presents the title web page and a collection of illustrations from this version, later re-edited by Lemonnyer in 1881.

Determine 3 Title web page and a few illustrations
of the publication Lemire 1772








Determine 4 Colored illustrations in two editions:
left Didot II 1794, proper Didot I 1795

Competing publications, like  Didot II 1794, with the identical designs and engravings of Lemire 1772, and  Didot I 1795 with engravings by CHAPUY and LAVALLEE after designs by PEYRON, included color plates. Fig.4 reveals the illustrations for Chapter 1, left in Didot II 1794 (an identical to the illustration in Lemire 1772 in Fig.3) and proper in Didot I 1795, each depicting the love story of Mars with Venus found by her husband Vulcan (left) and noticed by the Gods (proper).




However the place is that this ‘Temple de Gnide’ ?

Montesquieu feigns in his foreword that his novel is barely the interpretation of a Greek manuscript discovered among the many books of a Greek bishop. The novel is all about the love-affairs of Venus, her attendants and the ‘Three Graces’ and her worship by two amorous {couples}, among the many residents of ‘Gnide’. However nowhere is articulated the place this metropolis of the “Gnidiens” is positioned. In chapter 1 the river “Céphée”is cited, a reputation near ‘Céphise’, a river in Boeotia, the place certainly an historical sanctuary of Aphrodite is recorded (6), and likewise the title for the hero in his quick further story ‘Céphise et l’Amour’.

Determine 5 Map of the peninsula with Knidos
 between the islands Kos and Rhodos


Clearly, Montesquieu is gambolling deliberately, as a result of Gnide is the old-French orthography for Cnide, the well-known historical Greek metropolis Knidos (Greek: Κνίδος) on a peninsula, north of Rhodos, in south-western Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey (Fig.5). It was all through historical Greek historical past well-known for its sanctuary of the goddess Aphrodite Euploia, patron deity of navigation and seafaring  (7).

Her temple could possibly be seen from far-off of the coast It was the mannequin for the development within the Villa of Emperor Hadrian in Tivoli, Italy (Fig.6).




Determine 6 left: Base of the Temple of Aphrodite at Knidos
proper: Temple of Venus on the Villa of Hadrian in Tivoli (7)


Determine 7 Afrodite Cnida
in Altemps Museum, Rome

The temple housed the cult statue created by PRAXITELES (c.395-BC – c.330 BC) of Athens. It was allegedly the primary full-naked feminine massive sculpture, with many surviving Roman copies (the Capitoline Venus, the Venus de’ Medici, ‘Venus Pudica’, …) (Fig.7) (8). 


The ocean is completely absent in Montesquieu’s story and he doesn’t check with the actual celebrated statue of PRAXITELES. 

As a severe scientist Montesquieu 

prevented rigorously any amalgam between fiction and historiography.


 See extra posts about forgotten artists who illustrated well-known publications:

July 25, 2021 101/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (2): Antiquities

October 25, 2021 102/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (3): a disordered hyper-network

November 11, 2021 103/ Mad about Baudelaire and his Venus statue or Artwork networks of illustrated publications (4)

April 13, 2022 107/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (5): define engravers of the early 19thcentury in France


  1.  ‘Art Worlds’ by Howard S. Becker  (College of California Press, 1984) explores artwork as a collective exercise which requires a community of cooperating people. Although there’s a lengthy chapter on ‘Enhancing’, surprisingly it doesn’t focus on illustrated publications. 
  2.  Montesquieu: ‘L’Esprit des Lois’ printed in 1748 in Genève, was translated as The Spirit of Regulation’ already in 1750 and had a profound affect within the American Revolution.
  3.  The timeline is an Excel software of Vertex42; the community visualizations have been made with the free software Graph Commons.
  4.  Many editions can be found on Web (Gallica, Gutenberg, …). See the location “Montesquieu. Bibliothèque & éditions” (2021) and the location of Société Montesquieu.
  5.  ‘Le temple de Gnide – suivi de Céphise et l’Amour et de Arsace et Isménie / Montesquieu’ introduction par F. de Marescot. Iouaust – Librairie des Bibliophiles, Paris 1875. 
  6.  Concerning the cult of Aphrodite/Venus basically and this explicit sanctuary, see ‘L’Aphrodite grecque’ by Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge, Kernos Supplément 4, Athènes-Liège (1994) p.293-294. OpenEdition Books
  7.  Montesquieu could not have identified the precise location of Cnide however historic information identified to him describe the sanctuary (see Be aware 6, p.33). The archeological web site has been identified since 1812 and excavated in 1857, however the Temple of Aphrodite at Knidos was solely found in 1969 by Iris CorneliaLove. It has been the mannequin for a duplicate erected at Emperor Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli in Italy. 
  8. See ‘The Aphrodite of Knidos and Her Successors : A Historical Review of the Female Nude in Greek Art’ by Christine Mitchell Havelock. College of Michigan Press, 1995.

You may additionally like my different 98 posts since 2011: 

use ‘search’ or strive the dynamic view.

Click on ‘Residence’ and pull down the menu of the left button within the header and you could select one among a number of choices of studying kinds:

* Traditional * Flipcard * Journal * Mosaic
* Sidebar * Snapshot * Timeslide

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.