"Forum Vulcani Vulgo Solfatara", Blaeu/Mortier
Subject: Solfatara, Italy
Period: 1704 (circa)
Publication: Nouveau Theatre d'Italie
Color: Hand Color
20.4 x 15 inches
51.8 x 38.1 cm
This stunning engraving depicts Solfatara, the shallow volcanic crater in Phlegraean Fields, near Naples. As its name ("land of sulfur") suggests, the dormant volcano issues sulfurous steam, as pictured here. The region has fascinated travelers and artists since ancient times and has been the subject of many monographs. Solfatara is the mythological home of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. A key in both Latin and French notes various geological phenomena and natural resources. The area was a tourist attraction even in the 17th and 18th centuries; as the key notes, the houses in the distance at left shelter the people who prepare the sulfur and guides for foreign visitors. This engraving was originally created by Johannes Blaeu and was published in his three-volume town book of Italy in 1663. The town book was successful and was re-issued several times, including by Pierre Mortier in three volumes in 1704 and a more extensive four-volume atlas in 1705.
References: Shirley (BL Atlases) T.BLA-4b.
A nice impression with a 5" centerfold separation at bottom that has been closed on verso with archival materials and minor foxing.