Fine example of the allegorical frontispiece to Volume 11 of Blaeu's Atlas Maior, by Falck, which appeared only in certain deluxe editions.
The image depicts Indians, one being the traditional allegorical representation of the continent of America, shown in a headdress and with a bow and arrow standing on a European man's dismembered head. The others are shown at work mining and sifting for gold. The figures are surrounded by New World flora, fauna, and riches, including vegetation, a snarling reptile, and gold bars, with mountains, ocean, and a ship in the background.
At the lower right, two European ships are shown along the coastline, likely waiting to load the gold, representations of the Spanish Gold trade of the mid-17th Century.
In the sky, there are a number of allegorical figures in the clouds, including a priest, Indians, a soldier, an angel, and two putti bearing a banner titled "America."
This deluxe frontispiece does not appear in most examples of Blaeu's Atlas Maior, Volume 11 and when it does, it is typically heightened in gold.
Willem Janszoon Blaeu, patriarch of the Blaeu cartographic dynasty, died in 1638. He had two sons, Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673). Joan trained as a lawyer, but joined his father’s business rather than practice. After his father’s death, the brothers took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Cornelis died in 1648, leaving his brother to carry on the workshop alone. Later in life, Joan would modify and greatly expand his father’s Atlas novus, eventually releasing his own masterpiece, the Atlas maior, between 1662 and 1672. The Blaeu workshop burned in 1672 and Joan died a year later.