Artibus et Historiae no. 78 (XXXIX)

2018, ISSN 0391-9064

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JULIETTE FERDINAND - The French Translation of Albrecht Dürer’s Four Books on Human Proportion: a ‘crime de lèse majesté divine’? (pp. 171–184)

In 1557 Louis Meigret (c. 1500 – c. 1558), a humanist and grammarian from Lyon, published a French translation of Albrecht Dürer’s treatise Vier Bücher von Menschlicher Proportion (Nuremberg, 1528) as Les quatre livres d’Albert Durer, peinctre & geometrien tres excellent, de la proportion des parties & pourtraicts des corps humains (Paris: chez Charles Périer). In the preface to the reader, Meigret brings up the polemic launched by the Reformed theologians regarding the function of art and the representation of divinity. These two pages attest to the liveliness of the debate on the legitimacy of representing not only religious scenes, but also the human body, a few years before the outbreak of the first of the Wars of Religion in France. The present contribution sets out to analyse the text to gain a better understanding of what is at stake in the light of the religious context, especially in Meigret’s circle, thanks to a comparison with the positions adopted by the two most influential theologians of the time, Martin Luther (1483–1546) and Jean Calvin (1509–1564).

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