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Monuments Des Arts Du Dessin Chez Les Peuples Tant Anciens Que Modernes, Recueillis Par Le Baron Vivant Denon, Ancien Directeur-Générale Des Musées De France, Pour Servir A L'Histoire Des Arts; Lithographiés par ses soins et sous ses yeux. Décrits Et Expliqués Par Amaury Duval, Membre De L'Institut (Académie Royale Des Inscriptions Et Belles-Lettres.) Tome Premier. Origine, Progrès, Décadence Des Arts Du Dessin. Leur Renaissance En Europe. (- Tome Quatrième. Écoles De Peinture, Depuis La Renaissance Des Arts. Écoles Germaniques. - École Française.)

Baron Dominique-Vivant Denon

RA Collection: Book

Record number




A Paris,: Chez M. Brunet Denon, Rue Sainte-Anne, No 18., 1829., Imprimerie De Firmin Didot, Rue Jacob, No 24.

Physical Description

4 vols.; 556 mm.

General Note

Tom. I: [ii], 2, x, 4, 25, [1], [208] p., 61 pl. - Tom. II: [ii], 2, [160] p., pl. 62-153. - Tom. III: [ii], 2, [104] p., pl. 154-240. - Tom. IV: [ii], 2, [132] p., pl. 241-310. - In each volume most pages are numbered, but not in one sequence but in separate runs (generally '2' to '5') linked with the plates for which they provide the explanatory texts. Some plates carry two or more images.


Tom. I: [T.p.] - Table Des Matières Du Tome Ier. - Introduction [by Amaury Duval] - Tableau Analytique De L'Ouvrage - Notice Sur La Vie Et Les Ouvrages De M. le Baron Vivant Denon [incl. Correspondance Entre M. Denon Et M. De Voltaire] - Fragment D'Un Ecrit De M. Denon Sur La Formation Et La Composition De Son Cabinet - Explication Des Planches [plates, with texts]. - Tom. II: [T.p.] - Table Des Matières Du Tome II - Explication Des Planches [plates, with texts]. - Tom. III: [T.p.] - Table Des Matières Du Tome III. - [Plates, with texts]. - Tom. IV: [T.p.] - Table Des Matières Du Tome IV - [Plates, with texts].

Responsibility Note

Only parts of the text are by Denon. Some notes are reproduced from the catalogue of the Denon sale; others are contributed by experts such as Felix Lajard, J. Matter and especially Amaury Duval.

Most plates carry the names of source-artists (where known), draughtsmen and engravers. Draughtsmen include Bouillon, Capdebos, Berthon, Camoin(s), Delamardelle, J.B. Arnout, Mauzaisse, Franquinet, L.B. Parant, Meunier, Muret, lafitte, Gounod, Moitte, Bosio, Brunet. Engravers include Brunet, Bouillon, Meunier, Muret, Et. Delaune, Baldini, Mauzaisse, Dagneau, Franquinet, Vigneron, Dubois de Beauchene, Gounod, Mlle. Lse. Bouteiller, Bosio, Migneret, Heim, C. de Valori (or C. Vallori), Nooth, Laurent, Baltard, Delamardelle, Villain, A.M., Capdebos, Am. D'Aubusson, Valentin, Petit, Hersent, Malbest, Duchemin, Robert Clutterbuck, Moitte, Mongin, G.M., Colliere. A few plates are signed as drawn and/or engraved by Denon (46b, 69, 87, 108, 166, 198, 199, 202, 203, 211) or DN (4, 218, 267, 271, 289, 294, 300a, 309a).


M.H. Girard, 'Denon et les "Monuments Des Arts Du Dessin"', in Actes du colloque Vivant Denon (Chalon-sur-Saône, 1998), p.29-45.

Les vies de Dominique-Vivant Denon: actes du colloque organisé au Musée du Louvre, 2 v. (Paris, 2001); Dominique-Vivant Denon: l'oeil de Napoleon [exhibition catalogue] (Paris, 1999); P. Sollers, Le cavalier du Louvre (1995); P. Lelièvre, Vivant Denon (1993); J. Nowinski, Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825): hedonist and scholar in a period of transition (1970).

Summary Note

One plate carries a publication-date, of 1819 (plate 290).

Denon retired from the directorship of the Musée Napoleon in 1815 and spent the last ten years of his life preparing this general history; for which he drew almost entirely on his own collections - nearly all the plates are captioned 'Tirée du Cabinet de Mr. Denon'. He had acquired some 200 paintings, 750 drawings, 600 prints and many gems, medals and other objects.

The work is divided into three parts - I. Origine, Progrès, Décadence Des Arts De Dessin, II. Les Arts Du Dessin, Depuis Leur Renaissance En Europe, III. Ecoles De Painture En Europe Depuis La Renaissance. Parts I and II are included in volume I; Part III is spread through volumes II to IV. The first part includes a survey of 'peuples barbares ... anciens ...orientaux' such as Egyptians, Chinese and South Sea islanders, as well as the Greeks and Romans. Denon's conceptions of 'Progrès' and 'Décadence' share much with those of Vasari and Winckelmann, his yardstick of excellence being the naturalistic yet idealising, representational art of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The plates show antiquities, drawings and paintings.

Some plates are printed in monochrome wash; two, in colour (pl. 5, 192). From a letter of 1819 to Dawson Turner, preserved in Trinity College library, Cambridge, it appears that Denon intended to issue this work as a collection of plates only, but was prompted by the number of British subscribers to furnish a text, so as to make the work a 'book', exempt from British customs duties. However that may be, the letter-press text has been composed by Firmin Didot with great beauty and clarity.

Binding Note

19th-century mottled papered boards, vellum corners; red morocco spine-labels lettered 'Vivant Denon - Monuments Des Arts Du Dessin Tom. I(-IV)', brown morocco labels lettered 'R.A. - Paris 1829'.

Name as Subject


Art - Design - Composition (artistic arrangement) - Europe - Italy - Greece - Egypt - Asia - History
Antiquities - Drawings, European - Paintings, European
Collections - France - 19th century
Art history - Catalogues - France - 19th century
Pictorial works - Lithographs - Typography - France - 19th century