Bernard Picart

París, 1673

Bernard Picart

Bernard Picart (11 June 1673 – 8 May 1733), was a French engraver, son of Etienne Picart, also an engraver. He was born in Paris and died in Amsterdam. He moved to Antwerp in 1696, and then spent a year in Amsterdam before returning to France at the end of 1698. After his wife died in 1708, he moved to Amsterdam in 1711 (later being joined by his father), where he became a Protestant convert and married again.

Most of his work was book-illustrations, including the Bible and Ovid. His most famous work is Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde, appearing from 1723 to 1743. Jonathan I. Israel calls Cérémonies “an immense effort to record the religious rituals and beliefs of the world in all their diversity as objectively and authentically as possible”. Although Picart had never left Europe, he relied on accounts by those who had and had access to a collection of Indian sculpture. The original French edition of Cérémonies comprises ten volumes of text and engravings.

Israel notes also that Picart left Paris with Prosper Marchand, and collaborated on the Cérémonies with Jean-Frédéric Bernard, with a commitment to religious toleration. Picart, Marchand and Charles Levier belonged to a “radical Huguenot coterie”.

Here you can see the artist's works that are part of the collection.