The Joyous and Magnificent Entry of Françoys of Anjou to Antwerp
Rare early view of the arrival of Prince Francois of Anjou to Antwerp in 1582, attributed to the Old Master engraver Abraham de Bruyn.
This fine etching was the first plate in the celebrated work La joyeuse & magnifique entrée de monseigneur Françoys, fils de France, et frere unicque du roy, par la grace de Dieu, duc de Brabant, d'Anjou, Alençon, Berri, &c. en sa tres-renommée ville d'Anvers, published by Christophe Plantijn in 1582.
De Bruyn's view shows Francois' grand reception by the city of Antwerp on February 19, 1582, with the Scheldt River at the left. At the bottom left, the meeting of Prince Francois and the Duke of Orange is shown, with a large retinue of nobles and warriors on foot and on horseback. The meeting is celebrated with a remarkable military display, including ships firing in the Scheldt and a similar cannon salute from the tops of the fortified walls of the city.
Attributed to Abraham de Bruyn, this image is one of the spectacular illustrations from an anonymous account of the triumphant entry into Antwerp of Francois, Duke of Anjou (1555-1584), the youngest son of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici, and younger brother of King Henri III of France, on February 19, 1582.
As noted in Printing Ritual,
The opening etching of Plantijn’s book, a large folio spread with the title Antwerpia, introduces the critical parties in the treaty of Plessis-lès-Tours against a backdrop of the city of Antwerp. This large-scale cartographic image was an innovation unprecedented in Antwerp fête books. The artist depicted the city from the south, in a combinatory birds-eye and axonometric view.
The combined viewpoint includes a large landscape seen from above, which allows space for the depiction of a profusion of military guards, guilds, and nobles in neat, separated groups with identifying labels. To the left are the fleets of the Prince of Orange and Duke d’Anjou, who have arrived on the River Scheldt from England. Within the city walls beyond, particular structures are shown in elevation, while others are seen from above. The city church spires, especially the Onze Lieve Vrouw cathedral, the St. Joriskerk, and the St. Jakobskerk, form a latitudinal axis across the horizon that takes a certain amount of liberty with their actual placement within the city. . . .
Prince Francois in Antwerp
In 1579, Francois was invited by William the Silent (William I, Prince of Orange 1533 -1584), to become hereditary sovereign to the United Provinces. On September 29, 1580, the Dutch States-General (with the exception of Zeeland and Holland) signed the Treaty of Plessis-les-Tours with the Duke, who would assume the title "Protector of the Liberty of the Netherlands" and become the sovereign.
In 1581, the United Provinces formally declared their independence from Philip II and Spain. The ambitious Francois had spent much of the previous two years engaged in wooing Queen Elizabeth I of England, and attempting to maneuver a marriage that would have resulted in his becoming King of England, and so arguably the most powerful man in the world. He was the only one of Elizabeth's many suitors to court her in person.
Less than a year later Anjou's political ambition led him to attack Antwerp, which ended in a military debacle.
De Bruyn was an engraver who worked for a number of years for Christoph Plantijn in Antwerp.
He is ranked among the Little Masters, on account of his plates being usually very small. He engraved in the manner of Wierix, and worked entirely with the graver, in a neat and formal style, but his drawing is far from correct. It is believed that he worked also as a goldsmith.
De Bruyn was living in Breda in 1570 when Plantijn first retained him to do engraving work for two books. De Bruyn relocated to Cologne in the mid 1570s and did not return until about 1580.