Three suites of prints after designs by Claude Vignon, known as "La Galerie des femmes fortes"; "Sept Merveilles du Monde"; "Les Sept Sages de la Grèce"
Paris, Pierre I Mariette, c. 1640-1647
Three suites of prints engraved after designs by Claude Vignon, a painter and prolific originator of designs for illustrators, with a distinctive Mannerist-Caravaggesque style well-suited for heroic portraiture. In La Galerie des femmes fortes, twenty famous women of ancient, biblical, and recent history are shown in full-length, theatrical poses of great pathos, and often in movement. Different moments in time are depicted in the foreground and background of each composition; the foreground figure of “Judith”, for example, is shown with the severed head of Holofernes, while in the background scene an angel hands the praying heroine her sword. Gilles Rousselet (1610-1686) engraved the figure in each print and Abraham Bosse (1602-1676) etched the background scene. In the following suite of prints, known as the Sept Merveilles du Monde, Rousselet again engraved the full-length figures depicted in the foregrounds and Bosse etched the canonical seven wonders of the ancient world shown in the backgrounds. The third suite in the volume, known as Les Sept Sages de la Grèce, depicts the purported founders of Western Philosophy. Jean Couvay (1622-circa 1680) here engraved the foreground figures while Abraham Bosse again etched the background scenes.