A Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry: Manufacturing and the Technical Arts in Plates Selected from "L'Encyclopédie, Ou Dictionnaire Raisonné Des Sciences, Des Arts, Et Des Métiers" of Denis Diderot, Volume 1

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Dover Publications, 1993 - Design - 239 pages
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Artists, illustrators, collectors, and historians of industry, art, and invention will all welcome this superb republication of copperplates engraved to illustrate Diderot's great eighteenth-century "Encyclopedie." The first work of its kind, the "Encyclopedie "was the crowning venture of the Enlightenment. In this two-volume set, available for the first time in a paperbound edition, Dover has painstakingly reprinted 485 of the finest plates--considered among the greatest achievements of eighteenth-century graphic art--most in full size.
Diderot committed his encyclopedia to publicizing trade secrets in the hope it would lead to more rational industrial processes. The plates offer, therefore, a unique and invaluable record of manufacturing and the trades just prior to the Industrial Revolution. Each of the major trades is illustrated in sequences detailing machinery and processes from raw material to finished product. In fact, most plates are so clear and accurate that an engineer could almost use them to construct machines ready to go into eighteenth-century production. Moreover, the variety of arts, crafts, tools, and trades illustrated here is staggering: 56 plates on agriculture and the rural arts; 40 plates dealing with the iron foundry; 44 plates on metalworking; 67 plates on glassmaking; 28 plates showing masonry and carpentry; 55 plates dealing with textiles; and scores of others amount to a total of more than 2,000 illustrations.
This inexpensive edition will serve libraries, students, and teachers as a primary reference on Europe before the Industrial Revolution. In addition, commercial artists, designers, and crafters will find here a wealth of unusual, royalty-free illustrations for a host of art and craft uses.
Extensive, detailed notes, prepared by historian Charles Coulston Gillispie, clearly identify and explain objects, procedures, and techniques of each industry. Mr. Gillispie's Introduction is an extensive essay on the place of the encyclopedia in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.
Dover (1993) unabridged republication of the work originally published by Dover Publications, New York, 1959.

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About the author (1993)

Denis Diderot was a French philosopher and critic during the Age of Enlightenment. Born in 1713 in Langres, France, Diderot was educated at the University of Paris. From 1745 to 1772 he served as editor of L'Encyclopedie, which he fashioned as a journal of radical revolutionary opinion. He was a leader in the movement to challenge both church and state by furthering knowledge. Diderot also wrote several critical and philosophical works including Pensees sur l'interpretation de la nature (Thoughts on the Interpretation of Nature, 1754). In addition, he published essays based on personal experience, as well as several plays. As a philosopher, Diderot speculated on free will and held a completely materialistic view of the universe; he suggested all human behavior is determined by heredity. He is recognized now as an art critic of the first rank. His Essai sur la peinture (Essay on Painting, 1796) won him posthumous praise as a critic of painting technique and aesthetics. He died in Paris in 1784 and was buried in the city's Église Saint-Roch. His heirs sent his vast library to Catherine II, who had it deposited at the National Library of Russia.

Charles Coulston Gillispie is Dayton-Stockton Professor Emeritus of History at Princeton University, where he founded the program in History and Philosophy of Science in 1960. His books include "The Edge of Objectivity";" Lazare Carnot Savant"; "The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation";" Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827: A Life in Exact Science"; and "Science and Polity in France: The End of the Old Regime" (all Princeton). He was also the editor of the "Dictionary of Scientific Biography" (16 volumes, Scribners, 1970-1980). In 1997 he was awarded the Balzan Prize in the History and Philosophy of Science.

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