Saint-Aubin’s Butterfly People



Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin (Paris 1721–86) was one of three famous artist brothers. He worked as a designer for fabrics and textiles, and held the position of dessinateur du Roi to Louis XV. He made twenty-seven etchings, of which the best-known are two sets of six plates from around 1750 entitled Essay de Papilloneries humaines, one horizontal and one vertical in format, in which butterflies act as humans. Earlier designs show animals such as monkeys masquerading as humans, but this seems to be the only time that butterflies appear.

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