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Marin Cureau de La Chambre
L’Art de connoistre les hommes,

14, 500 

In stock


First edition of this rare text by La Chambre
dedicated to Fouquet, the surintendant des finances.

A superb copy with a red morocco binding decorated
with the arms of Barthélemy Hervart, lord of Landzert (1607-1676),
and coming from the workshop Pierre Rocolet-Antoine Padeloup.


La Chambre, Marin Cureau de. L’art dé connoistre les hommes. Première partie. Où sont contenus les Discours préliminaires qui servent d’Introduction à cette Science.
Paris, P. Rocolet, Imprimeur & Libraire ordinaire du Roy, 1659.

4to [245 x 180 mm] of (8) ll., 471 pp., (1) p.

Red morocco, several borders in gilt around a central frame of straight and curved gilt fillets with fleur-de-lis corner pieces, dotted gilt fleurons, gilt motifs on small tools, fleur-de-lis in center with arms stamped in gilt, ribbed spine with small gilt tools, decorated leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamps, gilt over marbled edges. Contemporary binding from the workshop of Pierre Rocolet-Antoine Padeloup.

First edition dedicated to “Monseigneur Fouquet, surintendant des finances”.

The protector of Martin Cureau de la Chambre (1594-1675) was the chancellor Seguier.

He became Louis XIII’s doctor and was considered quite favorably by Mazarin.

He was the first before Descartes to publish scientific works in French.

His most important work, L’Art de connaître les hommes, developed a theory of the temperaments that had a resounding success. It influenced La Bruyère for his Caractères.

His greatest merit was to “speak clearly the scientific language thus rendering accessible to the general public topics that may have interested them”.

A wide-margined copy with ornamental head and tail pieces and decorated initials, with the arms of Barthélémy Hervart, lord of Landzert, contrôleur général des finances.

A beautiful contemporary binding from the workshop of Pierre Rocolet-Antoine Padeloup with a motif similar to the one on the binding of the Discours politiques by Daniel de Priezac (B.N. Rés. E.251 reproduits dans Les plus belles reliures de la réunion des Bibliothèques nationales, n°36, 1929, pl. XXXI) ; it is also close to the binding of R. Esmerian (Deuxième partie, 8 décembre 1972, n°35).

Rocolet’s clientele, those who appreciate luxurious bindings, was the supreme elite of the time : the queen, the cardinal, the chancellor, and also the doctor Cureau de La Chambre, an able doctor, an ingenious philosopher and prolific writer, protected by the all-powerful chancellor Séguier. His books were the most beautifully decorated in the entire workshop.” (Raphael Esmerian)

Provenance : Barthélemy Hervart, seigneur de Landzert (1607-1676) and Henri Bonnasse, with ex-libris.

A Parisian banker, Barthélemy Hervart became an advisor to the king in 1649. His financial support of Mazarin allowed the latter to vanquish all his opponents. Barthélemy Hervart was appointed intendant des finances in 1650 and contrôleur général des finances in 1657 even though he was Protestant. He remained in office until the 12th of December, 1665. After the arrest of Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV entrusts Colbert with the exclusive authority over his finances. Following Fouquet’s downfall, Barthélemy Hervart is prosecuted, like numerous other bankers.

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