Quantity: 1 available
Condition: Very Good
Brussels: Typis Francisci Toppens, prope Templum Societatis Jesu, sub signo S. Spiritus, 1662.
Small 8vo. 6 1/2 x 4 inches. 29 copper engravings, decorative initial, 5 tailpieces; text clean, unmarked. Contemporary full calf, gilt ornamentation on the board edges, 5 raised bands, spine decorated in gilt, brown leather spine label, all edges colored; binding square and tight, rubbed, especially at the joints. French-language bookseller's description on front paste-down. CL1022-002. Very Good.
FIRST EDITION of this odd little book which takes as its source the Song of Songs of Solomon, and brings the comparisons up to date with the latest seventeenth-century thoughts on human nature and how to read an individual's character by their physical characteristics (physiognomy). The 29 copper engravings depict beautiful women, and various animals for comparison. Ernest Van Veen was a nephew of Otto Van Veen (1556-1629), an internationally known Dutch painter, draughtsman, and humanist active both in Antwerp and Brussels and in a variety of courts throughout Europe. Otto van Veen is perhaps best known for producing several emblem books and as a teacher of Peter Paul Rubens. Ernest himself remains a rather obscure character in the twenty-first century. Ernest's method of exposition in this volume is to select a text from the Song of Songs, usually with some sort of comparison of the beauty of Solomon's lover, with things cherished in Bronze Age Palestine. The book is divided into 14 sections. The second section begins with the quote "Your eyes are those of a dove (Song of Songs, 1:19). This section is accompanied by 3 copper engravings, 3 showing a woman while one engraving includes the head of a dove, making it easier for the reader to understand the eyes of a dove in a woman's face. Section 9 analyzes Solomon's remark upon the dark skin to his lover, and explains how seventeenth-century persons might attain a dark complexion. Jacques-Charles Brunet (1780-1867) remarked that "le title de l'ouvrage en indique la singularité," "gives some indication of its singularity." Nodier writes: "Exemplar non rogné d'un live singulier, remarquable par la délicatesse des petites figures en taille-douce don't il est orné," "a singular book, remarkable for the delicacy of the small intaglio figures with which it is adorned." This work remains mis-understood into the twenty-first century, and is not included in some recent works on physiognomy. The book is dedicated to Lord John the Baptist Maes, the Lord of Steenkerche and is approved by Roman Catholic Pastor J. Ceron.
REFERENCES: Brunet, Manuel du Libraire, V, col. 1026; Nodier, Description raisonnée d'une jolie collection de livres, No. 119.
Title: Tractatus Physiologicus de Pulchritudine. Juxta ea quae de Sponsa in Cánticis Canticorum mystice pronunciantur
Edition: FIRST and only EDITION
Country of Origin: Low Countries / Belgium
Location Published: Brussels, Typis Francisci Toppens: 1662
Binding: Contemporary full calf over boards
Book Condition: Very Good
Jacket Condition: No jacket, as issued
Size: Small 8vo. 6 1/2 x 4 inches
Seller ID: CL1022-002
Keywords: ernest van veen, physiognomy, solomon, song of sons, tractatus physiologicus de pulchritudine, vaenius