"Castel-Novo. Aux Venetiens dans la Dalmatie", Blaeu/Mortier
Subject: Castelnuovo, Montenegro
Period: 1704 (circa)
Color: Black & White
20.1 x 16.3 inches
51.1 x 41.4 cm
This uncommon engraving captures the walled town of Castelnuovo (present-day Herceg Novi, Montenegro) at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor. The city's distinctive architecture is rendered in striking detail, with especial attention paid to the fortifications. The topography of the surrounding landscape is also beautifully illustrated. In the background, there is a three-sided castle overlooking the town. A variety of ships sail the Golfo di Cataro (Bay of Kotor), with a couple ships firing their cannons. Blank verso, published in one of Mortier's reissues of Blaeu's Italian town books.
In 1539, during the Ottoman-Habsburg clash in the Mediterranean, Castelnuovo was the site of a bloody siege. 50,000 Ottoman troops and 200 ships under the command of Hayreddin Barbarossa took the town, then under Spanish control, but the wildly outnumbered Spanish troops refused to surrender and killed tens of thousands of Ottoman soldiers in the ensuing battle. Nearly all of the Spanish troops were killed in the fight, but they were celebrated as heroes across Christian Europe. Still, the defeat led the Holy League to abandon its campaign in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Ottomans held Castelnuovo until 1687.
A fine, dark impression with a few faint spots and marginal toning.