This lot of three engravings depicts three of the most famous and celebrated explorers of the New World: Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and Ferdinand Magellan. Each explorer stands aboard his ship surrounded by fascinating mer-people, sea creatures, and mythological gods. Of particular note are the large bird carrying an elephant in the engraving of Magellan, and the mer-people holding a dismembered body in the engraving of Vespucci.
Joannes Stradanus, also known as Jan Van Der Straet, was a Flemish artist who lived in Italy. He designed four drawings in the Americae Retectio (including these three and a 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. The drawings were later copied by Theodore De Bry, where the figures are shown in reverse.
References: cf. Tooley (TMC-2) pp. 22-24.
Excellent, dark impressions on watermarked paper with light soiling, minor toning, old manuscript page numbers in bottom blank margin at right, and a couple of minor edge tears that have been closed on verso with archival material. The engraving of Vespucci has a small burn hole in the bottom blank margin, and the engraving of Magellan has a small wax stain to the right of the ship.