"Americae Retectio", Bry, Theodore de
Subject: Title Pages
Period: 1594 (dated)
Publication: Grands Voyages, Part IV
Color: Black & White
7.7 x 5.6 inches
19.6 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. Janus (Genoa) and Flora (Florence) reveal a globe, that rests on the reclined body of Oceanus (Neptune), above a map of the coast of Italy. The title is suspended between portraits of Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci. 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. Neptune presents the arms of Genoa at left, and Mars displays the arms of Florence at upper right.
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 sheet of Latin text measuring 9.1 x 13.8".
References: Tooley (TMC-2) pp. 22-24.
On a lightly toned sheet that has been trimmed by the bookbinder to the edge of the engraved image at top right. There are a few minor spots within the image and light dampstaining at top that just enters into the engraving at right.