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Bosse, Abraham

Bosse, Abraham

(b. Tours, France, 1602; d. Paris, France, 14 February 1676)

geometry, graphic techniques.

The son of Louis Bosse, a tailor, and Marie Martinet, Bosse settled in Paris around 1625 and worked as a draftsman and engraver. In 1632 he married Catherine Sarrabat; four of their children lived to adulthood.

His drafting technique was obviously derived from the méthode universelle of perspective, presented by Girard Desargues as early as 1636. Bosse became Desargues’s most ardent propagandist, and it was through his efforts that Desargues’s methods achieved some success among artists of the seventeenth century and spread to foreign countries.

The art world of the seventeenth century was split into vigorously warring factions. Bosse sided with Desargues, who was conducting violent polemics, and in 1643 published two treatises, La pratique du trait à preuves de Mr. Desargues… pour la coupe des pierres en l’architecture and Manière universelle de Mr. Desargues…pour poser l’essieu & placer les heures et autres choses aux cadrans au soleil, which were complex expositions of two essays that Desargues had written in 1640 on the cutting of stone and on gnomonics.

In 1648 Bosse published a third tract, maniére universelle de Mr. Desargues pour pratiquer la perspective, which included several texts by Desargues himself, some of which had not been published before. Among them was the famous theorem on perspective triangles. In 1653 the work was amplified by a demonstration of the application of perspective to curvilinear surfaces. Bosse followed this work with several others dealing with particular applications, and became involved in controversies that eventually cost him his membership in the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.

Bosse also illustrated books, particularly works on science. These included such various works as Glazer’s Traité de la chymie, M. Cureau de La Chambre’s Traité de la lumière, moyse Charas’s Pharmacopée royale, and a series of botanical plates for Dodart’s Mémoires Pour server à l’histoire des planets.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

I. Original Works. Bosse’s writings include La pratique du trait à preuves de Mr. Desargues, Lyonnois, pour la coupe des pierres en l’architecture (Paris, 1643), also translated into German (Nuremberg, 1699); La manière universelle de Mr. Desargues, Lyonnois, pour poser l’essieu & placer les heures et autres choses aux cadrans au soleil (Paris, 1643), also translated into English (London, 1659); Traité des maniéres de graver en taille douce sur l’airin par le moyen des eaux fortes et des vernix durs et mols (Paris, 1645), often reissued and translanted; Manière universelle de Mr. Desargues pour pratiquer la perspective par petit-pied, comme le géometral. Ensemble les places et proportions des fortes et foibles touches, teintes et couleurs (Paris, 1648), also translated into Dutch (Amsterdam, 1664, 1686); Moyen universel pour pratiquer la perspective sur les tableaux ou surfaces irrégulères… Ensemble quelques particularitez concernant cet art & celuy de la gravure en taille douce (Paris, 1653), also translated into Dutch (Amsterdam, 1664, 1686); Représentations géométrales de plusieurs parties de bastiments faites par les reigles de l’architecture antique (Paris, 1659); Traité des manières de dessiner les ordres de l’architecture antique en toutes leurs parties (Paris, 1665); Le peintre converty aux précises et universelles regles de sonart (Paris, 1667); Regle universelle pour décrire toutes sortes d’arcs rampans sur des points donnez de sujetion(Paris, 1672); Catalogue des traitez que le Sieur Bosse a mis aujour(Paris, 1674); and Recueil des plantes gravées par ordre du roi Louis XIV, 3 vols. (Paris, n.d.), with N. Robert and L. Chatillon.

A more complete bibliography is in J. C. Brunet (see below) and especially in A. Blum, Abraham Bosse et la société française du dix-septième siècle, pp. 217–227, which also reproduces numerous documents relating to the polemic between Bosse and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.

II. Secondary Literature. Bosse or his work is discussed in the following (listed chronologically); J. and L. G. Michaud, Biographie universelle, new ed., V (Paris, 1843), 124–125; J. M. B. Renouvier, Des types et des manières des maître-graveurs, XVI-XVII, pt. 2 (Montpellier, 1856), 117–123; P.J. Mariette, Abecedario, P. de chennevières and A. de Montaiglon, eds., II (Paris, 1851–1853), 159–161; G. Duplessis, Catalogue de l’oeuvre d’A. Bosse (Paris, 1859); J. C. Brunet, Manuel du libraire, I (Paris, 1860), cols. 1126–1129; F. Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale, IV (1862), cols. 786–787; G. Poudra, Oeuvresd de Desargues, 2 vols. (Paris, 1864), I, 352–493, II, 1–113, and histoire de la perspective (Paris, 1864); A. Jal, Dictionnaire critique de biographie et 2d’histoire, (Paris, 1872), pp. 348–352; A de Montaiglon, Procèsverbaux de l’Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, 1648–1792, I (Paris, 1875), Passim; E. Haag and E. Haag, La France protestante, 2nd ed., II (Paris, 1879), cols. 922–928; A. Valabrègue, Abraham Bosse (Paris, 1892); G. C. Williamson, Bryan’s Dictonary of Opainters and Engravers, new ed., I (London, 1903), 174; U. Thieme and F. Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstleer, IV (Leipzig, 1910), 402–403; A. Fontaine, L’art dans l’ancienne France. Académiciens d’s autrefois (Paris, 1914), pp. 67–114; F. Amodeo, “sviluppo della prospecttiva in Feancial nel secolo XVII,”, in Atti dell’Accademia Pontaniana, 63 (Naples, 1933); A. Blum, Abraham Bosse et la société française du dix-septiéme siècle (Paris, 1924), and L’oeuvre gravé d’Abraham Bosse (Paris, 1925) ; R. Taton, L’oeuvre mathématique de Desargues (Paris, 1951), see Index H, (Paris, 1951), see Index H, and “;La première oeuvre géométrique de Philippe de La Hire”, in Revue d’histoire des sciences, 6 (1953), 93–111; M.L Blumer, in Dictonnaire de biographie française, VI (Paris, 1954), cols. 1146–1147; F. Bénézit, Dictonnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, new ed., II (Paris, 1961), 33–34; and, A Kondo, “Abraham Bosse et Poussin devant les problèmes de l’s espace et du temps”, in Annales, 23rd year (1968), 127–135.

A more complete bibliography relating to the artistic aspect of Bosse’s work is given by A. Blum in Abraham Bosse et la société française du dix-septième siècle, pp. 213–221; more precise references to the geometrical aspect of the problems are in R. Tation, L’oeuvre mathématique de Desargues, pp. 70–71.

RenÉ Taton

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Bosse, Abraham

Abraham Bosse (äbrä-äm´ bôs), 1602–76, French engraver and painter. He studied art in Paris and became a teacher of perspective in the Académie royale. A prolific and skillful worker, he engraved more than 1,400 pieces. He is best known for his faithful representation of French civil life and costumes during the period of Louis XIII. Bosse wrote several valued treatises on art and perspective. One of his rare paintings, The Foolish Virgins, is in the Cluny Museum, Paris.

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