GREAT BOOKS

Idylls - Les Idylles

Artist’s Name
Author’s Name
Edition
Henri Laurens (1885-1954)
Theocritus
1945, Paris
Translator’s Name: Émile Chambry
Printed in one volume, size 33 x 25 cm
Engraved front cover and 38 off-the-text wood engravings in brown-red colour
Printed on paper ‘vergé d’ Arches’:
  • 200 copies, numbered 1-200
  • 20 copies, off the market, numbered I-XX
Theocritus, ‘the Father of Bucolic Poetry’, was a Greek poet who was born in Sicily in the 3rd century B.C. Among his works are the Idylls, which comprise a unit of thirty poems; ten of them are bucolic and refer to the life of the shepherds, some describe scenes from the everyday life of the Greeks in Sicily, while others refer to Greek mythology. His powerful, vivid and eloquent writing made him one of the most important poets of his time. His poetry influenced not only the ancient Greek poets, but also European poets, especially in the 16th century.

The spirit of the poet is in harmony with the simple, powerful and vigorous figures of Henri Laurens. This series comprises a homogeneous unit. The deep lines, which define the shapes on dark wood, make up the required forms for the representation of the people of Theocritus. The classical spirit of Laurens creates works that indicate balance and economy. His purpose is to define things as he sees them and not to simply present them. Under these circumstances, he creates compositions of curves and angles, representing the power of nature as well as the harmony of the classical tradition.