Forup, Mikael Lytzau
. Syddansk Universitetsforlag . Odense, Denmark
Language note: Danish
NC961.7.F34 F67 2007 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: Danish
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This is a classy publication, including an embossed title on its cloth cover and 125 Gheeraerts illustrations. Each of the 125 fables gets a two-page spread, with text and illustration each given a page. I am disappointed in the quality of the illustrations. For the energy that went into this book and its importance, I would have hoped for lighter and sharper presentations of Gheeraerts' lovely work. The basic history is given well by Wikipedia: He showcased his talent in the fable book De warachtighe fabulen der dieren from 1567. He etched the title page and 107 fable illustrations and had his friend, Edewaerd de Dene, write the book's fables in Flemish verse. Gheeraerts based most of his motifs on woodcuts by Virgil Solis and Bernard Salomon but gave his subjects greater naturalism. Gheeraerts added another 18 illustrations and a new title page for a French version of the Fabulen that was published in 1578 under the title Esbatement moral des animaux. A Latin version, Mythologia ethica, was published in the following year with a title page likely based on a drawing by Gheeraerts. The copper plates were used in books well into the 18th Century and the fable series was copied by artists all over Europe. Gheeraerts also etched a second series of 65 illustrations for the fable book Apologi creaturarum, which was published in Antwerp in 1584. However, the etchings were smaller than those of the first series and never achieved the same popularity. Here we get first the title-pages for De warachtighe fabulen der dieren, Esbatement moral des animaux, and Mythologia Ethica. Next come the 125 fables. At the end is a set of notes and register of names, especially names of early fable editions. So many of these pictures set the pattern for decades and even centuries to come! Good examples are FS (45), The Fox and the Goat (111) and The Old Dog (231). This book is helpful as a resource but disappointing.