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Print, Design for Cartouche Evoking Death

This is a Print. It was designed by Jacques de Lajoüe and engraved by Gabriel Huquier. We acquired it in 1920. Its medium is engraving on white laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This cartouche design by the French academician, painter, and ornament designer Jacques de Lajoüe was etched by printmaker and publisher, Gabriel Huquier, for his Second book of Cartouches (ca. 1734). The composition combines a symmetrical pentagonal cartouche with an elaborate combination of emblems and motifs. At the apex of the pentagon is a skull wearing the Triregnum, the three-crown papal tiara topped here, unusually, with a patriarchal cross. Accompanying the crowned skull are laurel leaves, a scythe, smoking torches, a sword, a spear, and a bow. Flanking the sides of the cartouche is grotesquely amplified shell-like scrolls and fossilized foliage. At the lower edge are loose antique coins, a crown, reeds and a spade and a pick. Together, they convey the ambience of an archeological site or a graveyard. Such fantastical designs were not intended to be realized but were a popular format upon which artists explored the limits of the rococo style. Lajoüe was a prolific designer whose prints were in great demand by connoisseurs. This design is a paradigm of the rococo style where unconventional emblems culled from zoology, botany, and even papal emblems were collaged together in service of ornament.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled A Papal Graveyard.

Cite this object as

Print, Design for Cartouche Evoking Death; Designed by Jacques de Lajoüe (French, 1687–1761); France; engraving on white laid paper; 1921-6-326-7

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Print, Design for Cartouche Evoking Death |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=14 April 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>