An­i­mal: A Beastly Com­pen­dium

The Field - - Country Estate -

the mas­ter of the Play­ing cards, cards with bear and lion suit sym­bols

by anony­mous These 1435-45 play­ing cards are the first ex­am­ples of en­grav­ing on metal to ap­pear in Europe. The work of an anony­mous artist based in the Up­per Rhine Val­ley, they were in­tended for aris­to­cratic clients who liked to see an­other of their favourite pas­times – the hunt – de­picted on their play­ing cards. While the bears evoke a type of hunt­ing prac­tised dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages, the lions re­flect a re­mote,

imag­i­nary realm.

Edited ex­tract from An­i­mal: A

Beastly Com­pen­dium by Rémi Mathis and Valérie Sueur-her­mel. Pub­lished by Blooms­bury Vis­ual

Arts. RRP £30 Trea­sures from the prints and pho­to­graphs de­part­ment at the Bi­b­lio­theque Na­tionale de France

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