BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Tradition and Innovation in the Engravings of the Early Romanian Primers (Second Half of the 18th Century - Beginning of the 19th Century)

Fri8  Apr04:40pm(20 mins)
CWB Syndicate Room 3


Anca Elisabeta Tatay


In the statistics of the early Romanian books in addition to the religious publications, it is the primer which holds a peculiar position. The primers were printed in almost all the typographical centers that published books for the Romanians in the period of the so-called „early Romanian books” (from the first printed book till 1830): Jassy (1755), Vienna (1771), Bucharest (1783, 1823, 1824), Dubăsari (1792), Movilău (1800), Braşov (1805, 1816, 1824), Sibiu (1818 ), Râmnic (1827), Craiova (1828, 1829) and so on. In Romanian, they appear under several titles: Bucoavnă, Bucvar [Primer], Abecedar [Alphabet book], ABC, Cele dintâi cunoştinţe pentru trebuinţa copiilor care încep a citi [The first knowledge for the use of the children who start to read]or Caligrafie [Calligraphy]. They were elaborated in octavo, comprising about 60-100 pages and being often illustrated with one or more engravings. One can find here either religious themes (Trinity, The Virgin with the Child, Eucharist, Resurrection, Madonna on the Crescent Moon, Entombment, God Creates the Animals, Saint Nicholas, Scenes from Joseph’s Life) or secular ones (the image of a school, animals, insects, plants, the body position while writing). This study proposes to comment on these illustrations pointing out to their importance within the Romanian graphics and European culture.