At the Interface of Religion and Cosmopolitanism: Bernard Picart’s Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde (1723–43) and the European Enlightenment

Thursday, December 6, 2007
All Day

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

— a conference organized by Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles, and Wijnand Mijnhardt, Universiteit Utrecht

co-sponsored by UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies,
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Getty Research Institute,
Netherlands Consulate-General of Los Angeles

Bernard Picart (1673–1733) was one of the most prolific and talented engravers of his age. He was also intellectually curious and a player in internationally connected social circles—some with a penchant for Deism and Spinozism. Together with Jean Frédéric Bernard, a French-language bookseller and publisher of Huguenot stock based in Amsterdam, he published a seven-volume folio work that sought to capture the ritual and ceremonial life of all the known religions of the world: Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde (1723–1743). Bernard supplied the 3000 pages of the text while Picart engraved over 250 illustrations. Its first volume offered the world one of the most sympathetic portraits then available of European Jewry. Despite being the work of two French Protestant refugees and done in Amsterdam, the book attempted to be reasonably accurate about Catholic customs and to cast a more favorable light on the so-called “idolatrous peoples” who on the whole appeared in most of the travel literature as barbarous and even without any religion at all. In the lifetime of Picart the Dutch Republic stood at the heart of the European book trade. Picart and Bernard took full advantage of the opportunities they found in their adopted land, and the Cérémonies in its various translations sold a remarkable 3000 copies. Its translation into Dutch and English removed some of the more radical comments about religion found in the original French text, but those translations, and one in German, meant that Picart’s images became the standard means of portraying many of the world’s religions until well into the nineteenth century.

Graduate Student Session: New Research on Bernard Picart

Guillaume Calafat, École normale supérieure
“The Jansenist Roots of the Bernard-Picart Vision”

Verónica A. Gutiérrez, Univeristy of California, Los Angeles
“Quetzalcoatl’s Enlightened City: A Close Reading of Bernard Picart’s Engraving of Cholollan/Cholula”

Catherine Clark, University of Southern California
“Chinese Idols and Religious Art: Questioning Difference in Cérémonies et coutumes

Jesse Sadler, University of California, Los Angeles
“The Collegiants, a Small Presence in the Republic, a Large Metaphor for the Book”

Digital Picart: Presentation & Discussion

Tom Moritz, Getty Research Institute
Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles
Lynn Hunt, University of California, Los Angeles

Keynote address

Wijnand Mijnhardt, Universiteit Utrecht
“Religion, Capitalism and the Revolution in Science: the Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde”


“Early 18th-Century Music Making in the Amsterdam Canal Houses”
Performed by New Dutch Acadamy, Chamber Soloist Ensemble

Elizabeth Dobbin, soprano
Georgia Browne, baroque flute
Karl Nyhlin, baroque lute
Simon Murphy, cello piccolo/viola pomposa
Rebecca Rosen, cello

Bernard Picart in French and Dutch Art
Chair: Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles

Ann Jensen Adams, University of California, Santa Barbara
“Originality and Authenticity in the Graphic Work of Bernard Picart”

Louis Marchesano, Getty Research Institute
Impostures innocentes: Bernard Picart and Reproductive Printmaking”

Inger Leemans, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
“Picart’s Dutch Connections: Family Trouble, the Amsterdam Theatre and the Business of Engraving”

Inventing Comparative Religion
Chair: Catherine Secretan, Centre national de la recherche scientifique

Jacques Revel, École des hautes études en sciences sociales
“The Uses of Comparison: Religions in the Early Eighteenth Century”

Samantha Baskind, Cleveland State University
Bernard Picart’s Etchings of Amsterdam’s Jews

Marcia Reed, Getty Research Institute
“Picart on China: ‘Curious’ Discourses and Images Taken Principally from the Jesuits”

The Sources for the Cérémonies
Chair: Wijnand Mijnhardt, Universiteit Utrecht

David Brafman, Getty Research Institute
“Picart, Bernard, Hermes, and Muhammad (Not Necessarily in that Order)”

Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Universität Saarbrücken
“(Re)Inventing Encyclopedias in the Early European Enlightenment. The Work of Bruzen de la Martinière and its Relations with the Cérémonies et coutumes

Peter C. Mancall, University of Southern California
“Illness and Death among Americans in Bernard Picart’s Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations of the Known World

Translation: Linguistic and Historical
Chair: Lynn Hunt, University of California, Los Angeles

Kishwar Rizvi, Yale University
“Persian Pictures: Artiface and Authenticity in the Representations of Islam in Bernard Picart’s Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde

Tomoko Masuzawa, University of Michigan
“The Fate of Ceremonies in the Nineteenth Century”

Concluding Discussion: What we now know, what needs to be known
Moderators: Lynn Hunt, University of California, Los Angeles; Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles; and Wijnand Mijnhardt, Universiteit Utrecht