GREAT BOOKS

Dialogues - Dialogues

Artist’s Name
Author’s Name
Edition
Henri Laurens (1885-1954)
Lucian of Samosata (120-190 A.D.)
1951, Paris
Translator’s Name: Émile Chambry
Printed in one volume, size 39,5 x 29 cm
33 coloured original wood engravings, 24 of which are off the text
Printed on ‘vergé d’ Arches’ paper:
  • 250 copies, numbered 1-250
  • 25 copies, off the market, numbered I-XXV
The Dialogues is the most characteristic work of the ancient Greek orator and writer, Lucian of Samosata, Syria (120-190 A.D.). They contain a series of twelve Platonic-philosophic dialogues and a series of ten satiric ones. Tériade chose three satiric dialogues: the Dialogues of the Gods, the Sea Dialogues and the Dialogues of the Partners. The satiric dialogue is a genre that was initially developed by Lucian. He wrote them during the 2nd century A.D. and they refer to Greek mythology and the philosophers of his time. These works combine satire and oratory with philosophical queries. Their purpose is to ridicule the contemporary social conventions of his time. In some of his writings he scorns religion, satirizing the myths of the gods of Olympus. In others, he exposes the indecency and foolishness of some philosophers and he makes sarcastic remarks about man’s ambitions. His clever and caustic comments make him one of the most important satiric authors of the Roman period. His work greatly influenced future generations of authors.

Henri Laurens chose to express this satiric and caustic character of the texts with simple lines, under the influence of his cubistic collages and his multicoloured sculptures. His drawings illustrate two faces, which are cut by a series of geometrically, coloured shapes. His vivid images, with their impressive shapes, are differentiated according to the needs of each illustrated dialogue and are given a relative essence. The way he combines the specific faces and their accompanying classic symbols, reveals the nature of each conversation. The placement of the faces and their expressions make the viewer understand the particular relationship among them, the conversation between them, and the feelings and messages they want to deliver. The artist, with his form and his freedom of the line, liberates the figures and presents these people with a magnificent directness.