MELLAN, Claude
(b. 1598, Abbeville, d. 1688, Paris)

Frontispiece of a Bible

Engraving, 412 x 262 mm
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

This engraving is the frontispiece for a de luxe edition of the Bible published by the Imprimerie Royale in 1642. It was executed after the design by Nicolas Poussin.

The artist depicts on the left the winged personification of History, looking behind her and writing down what she has seen, and on the right the veiled figure of Prophecy, holding a small sphinx before her as a symbol of the enigmatic nature other pronouncements. Above these two figures, who symbolise the Past and the Future, floats God the Father, who as the source of all things also created Time. Poussin took the inspiration for his composition from Raphael's Transfiguration, where Christ is portrayed in precisely the same fashion.