|Adriaen Matham after Gérard Thibault
|[Leiden: B. & A. Elzevir: 1628]
|Image and plate 485 x 705 mm, Sheet 515 x 755 mm
Plate 8 from Academie de l'Espée or Academy of the Sword by Gérard Thibault d'Anvers.
Academie de l'Espée is a Dutch fencing manual written by Gérard Thibault d'Anvers and initially printed in 1630. One of the most elaborate fencing manuals ever written, it was the work of several years and it's lavish illustrations were prepared by a team of sixteen master engravers. Thibault's work treats the use of the rapier after the Spanish style La Verdadera Destreza or the True Skill and is well-known for it's use of intricate geometrical figures, especially the cercle mysterieux or mysterious circle. Not unlike the Spanish, Thibault advocated the use of upright postures, walking steps instead of lunges, and non-linear footwork. However, Thibault differed from his Spanish counterparts in many areas, including his preferred stance and grip. The team of master engravers were employed to produce plates for all forty-four chapters of the treatise, containing about twelve to fifteen pairs of swordsmen per instructional plate. These plates contain a wide variety of intricate backgrounds and costumes which appear to be purely decorative. The title page of Academie de l'Espée indicates that it was completed in 1628, but it wasn't printed until 1630, a year after Thibault's death. A second edition was printed forty years later in Brussels, Belgium in 1668.
Adriaen Matham (1590–1660) was a Dutch Golden Age painter, engraver and art dealer. Born in Haarlem as the son of the engraver Jacob Matham, he was also the brother of the engravers Jan and Theodor Matham. In 1620 he engraved a series of prints on the Counts of Holland that were only published after his death in 1663.
Gérard Thibault d'Anvers (c. 1574–1627) was a Dutch fencing master and author of the 1628 rapier manual Academie de l'Espée. His manual is one of the most detailed and elaborate extant sources on rapier combat, painstakingly utilising geometry and logic to explain his unorthodox style of swordsmanship.
Condition: Centrefold as issued, small scuffs and minor tears to sheet edge, areas of lighter inking to image.