PERRISSIN, Jean (before 1546-1617) and Jacques TORTOREL (fl: 1568-1575). L'execution d'amboise, faite le 15. Mars. 1560. Geneva: Nicholas Castellin, 1569-1570
Single sheet (14 x 19 4/8 inches). Fine woodcut with Perrissin's monogramme "IP" lower left, within the platemark, woodcut title above and legend below the neat line.
THE EXECUTIONS AT AMBOISE
Number 7 of 40 plates (including the illustrated title-page) in the celebrated series published with titles and legends in French (as here), German, Italian and Latin, as "Premier volume contenant quarante tableaux ou histoires diverses qui sont memorables touchant les guerres, massacres et troubles advenus en France en ces dernieres annees. Le tout recueilli selon le tesmoignage de ceux qui y ont este en personne" - "First Volume, containing forty tableaus or divers memorable histories concerning the wars, massacres and troubles that have occurred in France in these last years. All gathered from the testimony of those who were there in person and saw them, and truly portrayed"..
"THE FIRST EXTENDED PRINT SERIES OFFERING A PICTORIAL ACCOUNT OF RECENT EVENTS where the images do not simply illustrate a written history but carry the burden of telling the story themselves, and that was intended not to glorify aruler's deeds but to show a broad general public the events of their time" (Benedict, page 4)
Issued as a woodcut only. Immediately following the scene of the Conspiracy of Amboise, in which La Renaudie and Pardaillon are killed, many of the conspirators intent on kidnapping the young King Francis II, were rounded up and immediately hanged and left swinging from the battlements over the castle gate, others followed and many were also beheaded, or had their sentence commuted to rowing in the galleys for life. This print depicts these punishments in all their violent detail, and shows La Renaudie hanging from his own gibbet, awaiting quartering. "The scene at the focal point of the image is that of the conspirator who dipped his hands in the blood of his previously beheaded associates and lifted them as high as his bound arms allowed, cried out as he did so, "Lord, here is the blood of your children, avenge it."" (Benedict 7)
The publishing history of the "Quarante Tableaux" is extremely complex, and explained in great detail by Philip Benedict in his excellent "The Graphic History: the Wars, Massacres and Troubles of Tortorel and Perrissin" 2007. However the events depicted begin with the "special meeting of the Parlement of Paris in June 1559 at which Anne Du Bourg spoke out before king Henry II against the harsh repression of Protestantism through [to] a minor skirmish between Hugenot and Catholic forces along the Rhone in March 1570. The first dozen or so plates show the events that led up to the outbreak of open civil war in spring 1562. The remainder of the series is comped of events from the first three French Wars of Religion (1562-1563, 1567-1568, and 1568-1570). Above all it is a compendium of battles (15 pictures), sieges (5 pictures), raids (4 pictures) and massacres (3 pictures - 5 if the massacres from prior to the outbreak of the First civil war are included)" (Benedict, page 6).