In 1904 a large-format edition of Les sonnets luxurieux de l’Aretin was produced in Paris with a set of ‘engravings after Marcantonio Raimondi’, together with matching coloured illustrations by Avril. This was Avril’s first large-scale commission to produce specifically erotic illustrations, and established his reputation in the genre. His sixteen illustrations accompanying I modi (The Positions) are cleverly ‘based’ on earlier engravings, though which came first is a matter of some doubt.

The text used is that of the 1882 edition of Aretino produced by the Paris bookseller/publisher Isidore Liseux, but the purpose of the new edition was more to sell the illustrations and the French translations of the sonnets than to introduce its readership to Liseux’s learned text.

The full story of Aretino’s sonnets and the Raimondi illustrations can be found here in the ‘Themes and topics’ section of honesterotica.


The Avril-illustrated edition of Les sonnets luxurieux was published by Charles Hirsch in a limited numbered edition of 500 copies.