GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANT
Original 9 3/8 inch x 7 1/2 inch Engraving THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANT.
The readers of Fontaine’s time were aware of the Christian duty of charity and therefore sensed the moral ambiguity of the fable. This is further brought out by Gustave Doré’s 1880s print which pictures the story as a human situation. A female musician stands at a door in the snow with the children of the house looking up at her with sympathy. Their mother looks down from the top of the steps. Her tireless industry is indicated by the fact that she continues knitting but, in a country where the knitting-women (les tricoteuses) had jeered at the victims of the guillotine during the French Revolution, this activity would also have been associated with lack of pity.
Illustration by Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883). The most popular and successful French book illustrator of the middle of the 19th century. Doré became widely known for his illustrations to such books as Danté’s Inferno (1861), Don Quixote (1862), and the Bible (1866), and he helped to give European currency to the illustrated book of large format. He was so prolific that at one time he employed more than forty wood engravers. His work is characterized by an eclectic mix of Michelangelesque nudes, northern traditions of sublime landscape, and a highly spirited love of the grotesque and bizarre.
Engraved by Adolphe François Pannemaker (1822 – 1900). Wood engraver. Graduate of Ecole Royale in Brussels. He went to Paris and worked there for more than 30 years, especially as book illustrator, often working with his son and pupil, Stéphane Pannemaker (1847-1930), especially on reproductions of Gustave Doré’s book illlustrations and A. Doms, a wood-engraver who occasionally worked in collaboration with Pannemaker.
Jean de La Fontaine (1621 – 1695) was a French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages.
After a long period of royal suspicion, he was admitted to the French Academy and his reputation in France has never faded since. Evidence of this is found in the many pictures and statues of the writer, as well as later depictions on medals, coins and postage stamps.
Illustration for Jean de La Fontaine’s “Fables” published between 1668 to 1694 and illustrated by Doré in 1885.
This edition from Cassell’s ‘Doré Gallery’ published in 1885.
Page size 12 1/4 inch x 9 1/8 inch
The engraving is in very good condition. Reverse side blank.
Availability: 1 in stock