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Trichet du Fresne, Raphaël

    Full Name: Trichet du Fresne, Raphaël

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1611

    Date Died: 1661

    Place Born: Bordeaux, Centre-Val de Loire, France

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: France

    Subject Area(s): Italian (culture or style) and painting (visual works)

    Career(s): publishers


    First publisher of Leonardo’s treatise on painting in 1651 and author of the first published annotated art bibliography. Trichet du Fresne was the son of the lawyer and bibliophile Pierre Trichet (1586/7-ca. 1649). He studied at the Collège de Guyenne, Paris. While working for the brother of Louis XIII, Gaston d’Orléans (1608-60), he acquired works of art on buying excursions. While in Rome around 1630, he encounter the French expatriate intellectual community, centered around Sébastien Bourdon. Back in Paris by 1640 Trichet secured an appointment by Cardinal Richelieu to the Imprimerie Royale, reading texts for official authorization. There he met Nicolas Poussin. He was in Rome by 1644 facilitating the interactions between Poussin and the French ambassador to Venice, M. des Hameaux. Trichet published Leonardo da Vinci’s treatise on painting, Trattato della pittura, which had circulated in manuscript form, in 1651. His Trattato contained an early biography of Leonardo and Alberti and contained a list of books at the end, forming the first annotated bibliography of art literature. By the following year, Trichet was working as the librarian and art curator to Queen Christina of Sweden in Stockholm. When the Queen abdication in 1654 and emigrated to Italy, Trichet followed her to Rome. Eventually he returned to Paris where he was the librarian to Nicolas Fouquet, and finally for Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Trichet maintained a personal library of more than 1400 volumes, which was acquired by Fouquet for Saint-Mandé, and later by Colbert for the Bibliothèque Royale (Bibliothèque Nationale). Trichet also amassed a picture collectionincluded the paintings then attributed to Gentile Bellini (The Audience of a Venetian Embassy in an Eastern Town, today at the Louvre, and Bacchanal before a Temple by Poussin and Dead Christ with Angels by Ludovico Carracci, both lost today.

    Selected Bibliography

    Trattato della pittura di Lionardo da Vinci. Paris: Appresso Giacomo Langlois, 1651; Catalogus librorum bibliothecae Raphaelis Tricheti du Fresne. Paris: apud viduam & haeredes, ruë du Mail, 1662.


    Dezeimeris, Reinhold. Pierre Trichet: un bibliophile bordelais au XVIIe siècle. Bordeaux: Impr. Gounouilhou, 1878; Bonnaffé, Dictionnaire des amateurs français au XVIIe siècle. Paris: A. Quantin, 1884; Bajou, Thierry, Dictionary of Art; Sorensen, Lee. “Art Bibliographies: A Survey of their Development, 1595-1821” Library Quarterly 56 (January 1986): 31-55.


    "Trichet du Fresne, Raphaël." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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