"Americae Retectio", Galle/Stradanus
Subject: Title Page, America, Italy
Period: 1592 (published)
Color: Black & White
11 x 7.8 inches
27.9 x 19.8 cm
This fascinating allegorical engraving commemorates the discovery of the New World. Flora (Florence) and Janus (Genoa) reveal a globe, that rests on the reclined body of Neptune (Oceanus), above a map of the coast of Italy. The title is suspended between portraits of Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus. Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, is shown leaving Genoa and approaching the West Indies and Vespucci’s ship is shown departing Italy (near his hometown of Florence) and sailing along the coast of South America. Magellan is alluded to on the globe where Magellanica is marked between the tip of South America and the huge southern continent. Mars displays the arms of Florence at upper left, while Neptune presents the arms of Genoa at right.
Joannes Stradanus was a Flemish artist, who lived in Italy. He designed the four drawings in the Americae Retectio (including this frontispiece) and sent them to Antwerp where they were engraved by Adrian Collaert and published by Philippe Galle. According to Tooley, his work is one of the most important historical picture atlases, and is quite rare due to its ephemeral nature. This is the rare first state of three. The drawings were copied by Theodore De Bry, where the figures are shown in reverse.
References: Tooley (TMC-2) pp. 22-24.
A nice impression with a stain and tiny tear at bottom left that has been archivally repaired.