JF Ptak Science Books Post 1754
Nicolas de Larmessin (1640-1725) was an enormously creative and productive artist, and in his way created a genre similar to the great and ancient Dance of Death/.Danse Macabre/Totentanz--though his was the Dance of Life. Or perhaps it was something less political and philosophical, simply showing itself as a Dance of Work, A Satire of Occupation. (In the earlier, 14 & 15th century printed version of the Dance of Death, which shows death coming to people of different professions, that the earliest meetings between death and its intended depict death done only in bones, and is relatively scary; later on, moving into the 17 and 18th centuries, death occasionally wears some elements of the profession of the person whom he seeks, giving the expedition a little share of irony or dark comedic relief. In general, though I find the Wolgement, Holbein, Durer varieties of death-hungry Death to be fairly well off-putting; those later on less so.)
About 100 of these images from de Larmessin were published over a period of time and in variously-titled works, appearing as Les costumes grotesques et les métiers, and Costumes grotesques and Habits des métiers et professions--maybe they were more grotesques than anything else, or satires. Nicolas was part of a long family history of the de Larmessin (also L'Armessin) family, a famous series of generational engravers and printers, who worked and functioned in the 17th and 18th centuries.
To me the devil of his work is in fact in the details, and their accumulations. There very well may be a lot to study in the minutiae of what each profession has hanging to the ends of their clothing--or at least it seems possible that some previously overlooked widget gets a little public airing in one of these images...
Some of the alphabet of professions treated by de Larmessin include: Baker, (Boulanger), Basket maker (Vannier), Blacksmith (Ma Brick Mason (Masson), Butcher (Boucher), Chef (Cuisinier), Chest and Box maker (Malletier-Coffretier), Clock maker (Corlogeur), Clothes seller (Fripier), Coffee merchant (Caffetier), Comb and brush seller (Peigné), Comedian (Comédien), Dairy & cheese maker (Laitier), Farm laborer (Labourer), Fisherman (Pescheur), Furier (Foureur), Gardener (Jardinier), Hat maker (Chapellier), Hosier (Bonnetier), Knife and Sissor Sharpener (Remouleur), Locksmith (Serrurier), Leather worker (Ceinturier), Miller (Meusnier), Money changer (Monnoyer), Maker of table games (Tabletier), Perfume maker/seller (Parfumeur), Playing Card printer (Cartier), Plume and feather seller (Plumassier), Plumber (Plombier), Printer (Imprimeur), reschal), Saddle maker (Sellier), Second-hand Shoe maker (Sauetier), Tailor (Tailleur), Wheel wright (Charron), Wild Game chef/seller (Rotisseur), Wild Game chef/seller (Rotisseur),Wine merchant (Cabaretier), Wine maker (Vigneron).
Source for all following images: Live Journal
But before proceeding any further, I must at least make reference to another master in this field, an earlier, perhaps revolutionary figure, Arcimboldo (1527-1593), who produced royal portraits composed entirely of fruits and vegetables, as so:
The people and professions portrayed by de Larmessin are "people" underneath it all; with Arcimboldo its fruit and veggies all the way down, just like with the Dance of Death, there's nothing beyond the bone but disappeared bone.
Costumes Grotesques / Habit de Sculpteur
Travestissements / Habit de musicien After Nicolas de Larmessin II
Travestissements / Habit de meniuisier ébeniste
Travestissements / Habit de chaudronnier
Travestissements / Habit de pescheur
Travestissements / Habit de parfumeur
Travestissements / Habit de plumassier
Travestissements / Habit de ceinturier
Travestissements / Habit de laijettier
Travestissements / Habit de ferblanquier
Travestissements / Habit de quincaillier
Travestissements / Habit de marchand miroitier lunettier
Travestissements / Habit de serrurier
Travestissements / Habit de boisselier
Travestissements / Habit de maréchal
Travestissements / Habit de jardinier
Travestissements / Habit de tailleur
Travestissements / Habit de vigneron
Travestissements / Habit de cabaretier
Travestissements / Habit de paticier
Travestissements / Habit de vannier
Travestissements / Habit d'orfèvre
Travestissements / Habit d'malletier coffretier
and these from Le Boite Verte.