Picart and Bernard

In the early 1700s Bernard Picart and Jean Frederic Bernard produced a series of volumes entitled Religious Ceremonies of the World. The books were radical in a number of ways, not least in that they presented all religions as equal, being concerned to offer an insight into the ceremonies and practices of these religions rather than proposing any one as more important or correct than any other.

The June New York Review of Books contains an insightful review of a new book about Picart and Bernard, (here) but it also, fascinatingly, gives a link to the UCLA website where all the engravings by Picart are presented. This is an extraordinary resource: every picture from the more than seven volumes can be searched and then enlarged on screen so that the smallest detail is beautifully revealed. Treat yourself here.

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