4 of 20 copper-plate engraving and etchings by Gilles Rousselet and Abraham Bosse after a drawing by Claude Vignon from La Galerie des Femmes Fortes [Portraits of strong women], by Jesuit Father Pierre Le Moyne (1602-1671), published by Pierre Mariette, Paris, (1640-47.)
The women, who were all beautiful as well as tough, are heroines of 4 different religions. Their portraits were a very influential inspiration for artists, especially in Eastern Europe. The book is in the Getty Library and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
The prints are 340 x 212 mm. Uncoloured, very good condition, with only minor flaws not affecting the figures.
AC 002 Arria, whose husband was ordered to commit suicide by Emperor Claudius for his part in a rebellion but could not bring himself to do so. She stabbed herself with his dagger and returned it to him saying : “it does not hurt if you die with courage”.
AC 004 Zenobia. Queen of Palmyra (Syria) who in 258 AD conquered an empire which included southern Anatolia and Egypt, but was finally overcome by the Romans.
AC 003 Judith. In the biblical Old Testament, she saved her native city of Bethulia by beheading the general of the besieging Assyrian army, Holofernes, after she had visited his tent and drugged him with wine.
AC 001 Lucretia. In the traditional history of Rome, in 508 BC, this virtuous wife was raped by the son of King Tarquin. She made her father and husband vow to avenge her and then killed herself. For this she is credited with giving rise to the Roman ideal of liberty and the replacement of despotic monarchy by a democratic republic.