12 June 2009
AIX-EN-PROVENCE 1777 -- [GRÉGOIRE, Gaspard]. Explication des cérémonies de la Fête-Dieu d'Aix en Provence. Aix en Provence: Esprit David, 1777.
12o (168 x 95 mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait of René d'Anjou and 13 engraved folding plates by GASPARD GRéGOIRE fils after drawings by his brother PAUL GRéGOIRE (some minor offsetting). Contemporary French cat's paw calf, spine gilt (some minor wear, head of spine chipped).
An account of the festival of Corpus Christi in Aix whose authorship is attributed to the Aix silk manufacturer, Gaspard Grégoire, and his sons Gaspard and Paul. The celebration, or Fête-Dieu, honors the Eucharist and reached the height of its popularity in the 15th century when it became the major feast of the Church. It was enthusiastically celebrated throughout France with elaborate processions of nobles and clerics and with mystery plays put on by the local merchants and craftsmen, which would later become the foundation of modern theater in Europe. The festivities and the medieval traditions of the pageant were still preserved at Aix in the 18th century, and here Gaspard provides descriptions of the various ceremonies performed during the week-long springtime celebration in the years prior to the French Revolution, including valuable information relating to the folk habits and local social traditions. Twelve charming plates show various scenes of theater and dance performed, as well as the ornate costumes designed for the shows. One plate is printed with notations for five pieces of music. Lipperheide Sl 20; Vinet 819; Watanabe 2224.
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