"Abcontrafehtung des Kunstlichen und Gewaltigen Schiffs / so Keyser Carolo zu Ehren / von der Statt Brussel...", Munster, Sebastian
Subject: Prints - Ships
Period: 1614 (circa)
Color: Black & White
12.9 x 10.6 inches
32.8 x 26.9 cm
Sebastian Munster (1489 - 1552) was one of the three most renowned cartographers of the sixteenth century, along with Mercator and Ortelius. Munster's Geographia and Cosmographia Universalis were two of the most widely read and influential books of the period. His editions of Ptolemy's Geographia, published between 1540 and 1552, were illustrated with 48 woodcut maps, the standard 27 Ptolemaic maps supplemented by 21 new maps. These new maps included a separate map of each of the known continents and marked the development of regional cartography in Central Europe. The antique geography was a prelude to Munster's major work, the Cosmographia, which was published in nearly 30 editions in six languages between 1544 and 1578 and then was revised and reissued by Sebastian Petri from 1588 to 1628. The Cosmographia was a geographical as well as historical and ethnographic description of the world. It contained the maps from the Geographia plus additional regional maps and city views with nearly 500 illustrations which made it one of the most popular pictorial encyclopedias of the sixteen century.
This stunning and uncommon engraving is copied from an illustration in Christophe Plantin's La Pompe Funebre de Charles Quint (1559), an illustrated work commemorating the death of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. It depicts a ceremonial ship that was offered by the city of Brussels during the Emperor's funeral in December 1558. The ship is drawn by two seahorses and includes numerous coats of arms. Its passengers are allegorical figures representing Spes (Hope), Fides (Faith), and Charitas (Love). Behind the ship are two elephant-like sea creatures pulling the Pillars of Hercules, symbols incorporated into the Emperor's coat of arms. On verso is a smaller illustration dated 1576 with more heraldry and symbols related to Charles V. German text on verso, from a later edition of Cosmographia.
There is light toning and scattered foxing, especially concentrated along the centerfold. A small tear and an archivally repaired wormhole appear near the centerfold in unengraved areas.