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Description

Famous 16th-century allegorical scene commemorating the discovery of America.

This is the De Bry edition of the image originally drawn by Johannes Stradanus, a Flemish artist living in Italy, which was first engraved by Adrian Collaert for Galle's Americae Retectio in 1585. The image was also re-issued in 1592 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Columbus's discovery of the New World.

The map shows the coastline from Livorno to Savona. The main image shows Neptune, supporting a Globe, flanked by Flora-representing Florence, and Janus-representing Genoa. The coat of arms of each city is depicted just beyond each of these figures. Flora is shown holding back a draped curtain, thus revealing the western hemisphere which was previously hidden behind behind this cloak of obscurity. Medallion portraits of Vespucci and Columbus appear above this scene, and Magellan is alluded to by the indication of Magellanica on the globe. Portraits of Columbus and Vespucci are shown above. The globe shows the world on an inverse projection, with America on the right. The entirety of South America, the Caribbean, Central America, and the Eastern Part of North America can be seen, extending to the southern tip of Greenland.

A nice example in full color, from a De Bry re-issue of the image. 

Theodor De Bry Biography

Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher best known for his engravings of the New World. Born in Liege, de Bry hailed from the portion of Flanders then controlled by Spain. The de Brys were a family of jewelers and engravers, and young Theodor was trained in those artisanal trades.

As a Lutheran, however, his life and livelihood was threatened when the Spanish Inquisition cracked down on non-Catholics. De Bry was banished and his goods seized in 1570. He fled to Strasbourg, where he studied under the Huguenot engraver Etienne Delaune. He also traveled to Antwerp, London, and Frankfurt, where he settled with his family.

In 1590, de Bry began to publish his Les Grands Voyages, which would eventually stretch to thirty volumes released by de Bry and his two sons. The volumes contained not only important engraved images of the New World, the first many had seen of the geographic novelties, but also several important maps. He also published a collection focus on India Orientalis. Les Grands Voyages was published in German, Latin, French, and English, extending de Bry’s fame and his view of the New World.