Quentin Skinner (London), The Leviathan Frontispiece: Meaning and Provenance

This lecture focuses on the engraved title-page of Thomas Hobbes’s »Leviathan« executed by Abraham Bosse in 1651. This image is first discussed in relation to two earlier works by Hobbes that had included emblematic frontispieces: his translation of Thucydides in 1629 and his »De cive« of 1642. These images are in turn related to the broader visual conventions of English humanist frontispieces as a means of revealing some iconographically unique features of Bosse’s design. The »Leviathan« frontispiece centres on a male colossus, whose identity will be discussed, but the lecture also includes an analysis of some relevant female figures, including representations of Imperium, Libertas and Potestas, as well as personifications of America and Europe. Continue reading