There are books that shocked me, with which I lived and with which I was forever connected by the memory of my mind and heart. Such recognition of the remarkable expert and master of book art, people’s artist of Russia N.V. Kuzmina could justifiably be shared by many admirers of Don Quixote, for whom this amazing book truly became a life partner, spiritual and moral support, a source of creative inspiration.
The ingenious work of Miguel le Cervantes Saavedra belongs to a rare number of those works of world literature, whose immortal images – Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Dulsineya Tobos – live in the human mind along with real historical figures. Due to their unusual fate, these images constantly attracted the attention of people from various fields of art, and, first of all, fine art.
Don Quixote bookplate Among admirers of the famous novel by Cervantes, there has long been a desire to capture his “visible images” on the book signs of his book collections. Bookplates, the appearance of which dates back to the middle of the 15th century – the initial period of printing, traditionally being book-ownership marks, a kind of “protective diploma” of a book and library, at the same time, always symbolized the eternal respect and love of a Continue reading
Portrait bookplate – one of the oldest types of book characters – appeared after the stamp. The first engraved bookplate is considered the emblem of the knight Bernhardt von Rohrbach, made in 1460 by the German engraver Bartel Schön. The portrait ex-libris was not long in coming; the earliest surviving portrait ex-libris was made in 1498 for the Basel Bishop of Limberger. It is not necessary to doubt the time of appearance of this bookplate, it shows the date of its creation, no date was indicated on any of its predecessors.
The origin of portraiture dates back to ancient times. The oldest known attempt to portray a human face has 27 millennia, it was discovered in the cave of Villoner near the French city of Angouleme in the department of Charente. The word “portrait” originates from the outdated French word portraire – to write off someone’s image. The first who proposed to use the term “portrait” exclusively for “depicting a (concrete) human being” was the French art historian and official court historian of King Louis XIV Andre Felibien. Continue reading
The story of the bookplate gives us an example of an amazing, but fairly common metamorphosis. Born as an ordinary utilitarian owner’s signature, the bookplate turned into an independent section of artistic printed graphics, as well as into a collectible. Something similar happened with postcards, stamps, labels, posters …
The first books were unusually expensive, their possession was comparable by today’s standards with the possession of a representative car, so leaving the owner’s signature in the book was absolutely natural. Conventional signatures gradually evolved into font compositions, and began to grow into various decorations. And since the owners of the books were mainly titled people, instead of the owner’s signature, his coat of arms appeared. To reproduce complex compositions, it became necessary to create printed forms, Continue reading