A Paris: chez Jean le Clerc, rue S. Jean de Latran, à la Salemandre Royale, [November 28, 1603]. Early edition (3rd?). In later half vellum, panels covered with marbled paper. Coll.: A–K4;  p. Title page with figural woodcut border. 36 full-page woodcut illustrations on rectos, printed text on versos (except for the first unillustrated leaves). Woodcut royal coat of arms of France and Navarre on final leaf, guarded with two woodcut devices. Pages ruled with a double frame. The illustration on F2 printed upside down. Shelfmark in ink on the inner front panel. Old inscription in ink on A2 at the lower margin. Water stains throughout. Old restoration to the outer edge of A4, not affecting the print space. A probably contemporary sketch in pencil of a head on B1 lower margin. Wormholes at gutter throughout from B1, smaller holes at the margins occasionally. A cluster of tiny wormholes between F2–G4 in the print space. H3 lower outer corner missing due to failure of casting. Occasional light stains. Otherwise a clean, firm copy, in very good condition.
A rare and early edition of one of the most famous artistic anatomy books, Jean Cousin the Younger’s popular treatise on the art of drawing.
Jean Cousin the Younger (ca. 1522–1595), following his father Jean Cousin the Elder (ca. 1490–1560), was a French artist and craftsman, noted for his painting, engraving, stained glass, sculpture, and book illustrations. They both achieved fame for their versatility and independent style, and their books of the art of the drawing. The Elder authored the Livre de Perspective (1560), and the Younger the present book on artistic anatomy. Jean Cousin the Younger’s Livre de pourtraiture was first published in 1595 (the earlier editions mentioned by Brunet don’t appear to exist) and went through several editions throughout the next century and a half. The book is illustrated with thirty-six full-page detailed woodcuts and the supporting text in French provides the basic instruction on figurative drawing for aspiring artists.
No copy of the present 1603-edition in WorldCat and USTC. WorldCat locates the editions of 1595, 1600, 1608, and 1612, USTC only the first two. Any edition appear to be quite rare.