"Americae Retectio", Bry, Theodore de
Subject: Title Page, America, Italy
Period: 1600 (circa)
Color: Black & White
7.6 x 5.6 inches
19.3 x 14.2 cm
This copper engraving is from a remarkable series of publications, illustrating voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to various parts of the world. The project was begun by Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt, in 1590 and was to continue for another 54 years. They became known collectively as the Grands Voyages (to America and the West Indies) and the Petits Voyages (to the Orient and the East Indies). De Bry died after the first six parts of the Grands Voyages were completed. The project was completed initially by his widow and two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his son-in-law, Matthaus Merian in 1644.
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. Mars displays the arms of Florence at upper right, while Neptune presents the arms of Genoa at left.
This is a reduced-size version of Joannes Stradanus' work. 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. The drawings were copied by Theodore De Bry, with the image in reverse. Published in Part IV of Grands Voyages. On a full sheet of German text measuring 8.9 x 12.6".
References: Tooley (TMC-2) pp. 22-24.
Lightly toned with marginal soiling.