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PICART, BERNARD:

Title-Page from the "Tiḳḳun Soferim," Designed by Bernard Picart.(From the Sulzberger collection in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York.)

French designer and engraver; born at Paris June 11, 1673; died at Amsterdam May 8, 1733. He was descended from a Protestant family and received his earliest instruction from his father, Etienne Picart, and from Le Brun and Jouvenet. At an early age Picart showed a marked facility in the imitation of the great masters. In 1710 he settled at Amsterdam, where he supplied plates and engravings to printers and book-sellers. Picart designed and executed a vast number of plates, about 1,300 of which are still extant. These represent a variety of subjects, a number of them depicting Biblical topics. That part of his work which is of Jewish interest is contained in the "Ceremonies des Juifs," the first volume of the "Ceremonies et Coutumes Religieuses de Tous les Peuples du Monde" (11 vols., Amsterdam, 1723-1743). These plates, all of which are faithfully and carefully prepared, are among the earliest engravings on Jewish ecclesiastical and ceremonial subjects. The following is a list of them, given in the order in which they appear in the original edition: (1) Interior of the Portuguese Synagogue at Amsterdam; (2) Jew with Phylacteries and Praying-Scarf; (3) Arba' Kanfot, Sabbath Lamp, Maẓẓot, Lulab, Etrog, Mezuzah, and Shofar; (4) Benediction of the Priests in a Portuguese Synagogue at The Hague; (5) Elevation of the Law; (6) Sounding the Shofar on New-Year's Day; (7) The Day of Atonement (in the Synagogue); (8) Search for Leaven; (9) Passover Meal; (10) Feast of Tabernacles (in the Synagogue); (11) Feast of Tabernacles (at Home); (12) Rejoicing of the Law (in the Synagogue); (13) Escorting Home the Bridegroom of the Law; (14) Implements of Circumcision; Scroll of the Law, with Mantle, Crowns, etc.; (15) Circumcision; (16) Redemption of the First-Born; (17) Marriage Among the Portuguese Jews; (18) Marriage Among the German Jews; (19) Circuit Round the Coffin; (20) Interment.

An English translation of the work cited was printed by William Jackson (London, 1733). It contains, in addition to Picart's drawings, which in this translation are engraved by Du Bose, several good engravings of similar Jewish subjects by F. Morellon la Cave.

Bibliography:
  • Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, iv. 112, London, 1904;
  • Jacobs and Wolf, Bibl. Anglo-Jud. p. 76, London, 1888;
  • Thomas, Dict. of Biography and Mythology, Philadelphia, 1901.
J. I. G. D.
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