Library Exhibits

Don Quijote de la Mancha: 1605-2005

This exhibit was mounted September 19 - December 2, 2005. For further information contact

Brown University Library celebrates the 400th anniversary of the publication of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de La Mancha with an exhibit featuring book illustrations and title pages dating from the first edition of this novel in 1605 up to 2004.

Considered to be the first modern novel in history and one of the most widely read, publishers worldwide have produced many unique illustrated editions of El Quijote in the last four centuries. World-renown artists such as William Hogarth, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Honoré Daumier, Gustave Doré, Francisco de Goya, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso have portrayed the character of Don Quixote from a madman to a misunderstood hero.

The Library is displaying numerous renditions of Don Quixote by Charles-Antoine Coypel, John Vanderbank, Antonio Carnicero, José Brunete, François Marie Isidore Queverdo, Manuel Peleguer, José Rivelles y Helip, Robert Smirke, Henry Liverseege, Pierre Choquet, Thomas Stothard, Richard Westall, Gustave Doré, Gustave Pierre Eugène Staal, Jean de Bosschère, Enric Cristòfol Ricart i Nin, Edouard Edy-Legrand, Salvador Dalí, Roberto Páez, and Ricardo Zamorano.

The illustrations were executed using various printmaking techniques—woodcuts, copper engravings, mezzotints, linocuts, xylographs, lithograph—as well as drawings, and oil paintings. The styles and periods represented range from the Early-Modern to the Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism, Naturalism, Futurism, Art Deco, Surrealism, and beyond.

The editions on display were printed in England, France, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and United States. Many portray a contemporary national flavor, disregarding the geographical and chronological context of El Quijote. Cervantes' novel lampoons Spanish chivalry, yet its illustrations are not limited to the portrayal of a fool or hero emulating a glorious Medieval knight. The artists are equally concerned with their contemporary culture and philosophy.

This exhibit complements the conference "Cervantes and the Americas: Transatlanticism Past and Present," hosted by the Hispanic Studies Department of Brown University, and the exhibit "Spanish Historical Writing about the New World, 1493-1700" at the John Carter Brown Library.

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