Lucius or The Ass - Loukios ou l’ Âne

Artist’s Name
Author’s Name
Henri Laurens (1885-1954)
Lucian of Samosata (120-190 A.D.)
1947, Paris
Translator’s Name: Émile Chambry
Printed in one volume, size 29,5 x 21 εκ.
58 original wood engravings on black, of which some are gold platted
Printed on ‘vélin d’ Arches’ paper:
  • 250 copies, numbered 1-250
  • 20 copies, off the market, numbered I-XX
The imaginative and romantic story of Lucian of Samosata (120-190 A.D.) refers to the adventures of a poor man who was transformed into a donkey by a love-stricken witch. Henry Laurens bases his illustration on the text, which Tériade asked him to take on. He creates wood engravings that accompany the theme of almost every page. The artist gives his personal interpretation of the text and he places the three protagonists in the scene accordingly: the man, the woman and the donkey. He avoids symbolism or philological explanations. He gives many of these images his characteristic humor and he presents them with such simplicity that their plastic characteristics are instinctively expressed.

In this work, Laurens reveals his genius in the illustrations of the book. The title, the decorative pieces at the beginning of the paragraphs, and the contrast of the white paper with the black drawings and the fonts, compose a unit. The spirit of this unit perfectly corresponds to the spaces of the page as well as with the rhythm of the text. Laurens creates his own world with the intentional unfinished printing of the colours and his specific controlled line, which gives a balanced intensity due to his knowledge and talent of sculpture.