Theodor De Bry’s Grand Voyages

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These are four examples of the engravings of Theodoros de Bry. De Bry never actually visited the Americas himself, but based on the accounts that he heard back from the New World, he did a series of engravings – uh, very powerful engravings – that are illustrated here. He depicts in several of these violence between Indian and Indian, violence between Indian and invading Spaniards, the navigation up a small bay of explorers, and, in still another, a particularly violent episode between the slave masters of the day, the- the conquering Spanish, and the Indians, who were enslaved and, uh, made to, uh, to work in horrible conditions. The larger story frequently told by de Bry, and certainly told by three of the four of these prints, is man’s inhumanity to man.

One of the pictures which is particularly interesting shows the Spanish invaders attempting to embattle the Indians who are defending themselves in a variety of manners. At the very center of the picture there is a group of Indians shown up in a stylized tree, pouring some substance – water, oil, who knows what – down upon the attacking conquistadors, who are holding up a large piece of wood to trying to fend it off. Meanwhile other Spaniards are firing rifles up at the tree – you can see the plumes of smoke at the end of their barrels – and an effort has been made, so far unsuccessful, to chop the tree down and to overcome the, uh, resistance accordingly. Needless to say, this is a hyper-stylized account of the conflict between the invading conquistadors and the native peoples, but it succeeds, I think, in depicting and making graphic for the modern eye just how brutal that period was.

 

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Francisco Pisarro and Athabaliba, ultimus rex Peruanorum

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These are two engravings by a British mapmaker by the name of John Ogilby. One is of the, uh, Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pisarro, the conqueror of the Peruvian, uh, indigenous peoples. And the other is the Incan leader, Athabaliba[1], who was the unhappy monarch deposed by the Spaniards when they invaded and asserted their control over that part of South America. The engravings are beautiful, they’re clear, they almost seem fresh off the press, but are in fact, uh, over two hundred years old, and they have been magnificently colored again to catch the eye. If we look at each of them in turn, we see certain of the items that signal the role or the fate of the two characters in question – Pisarro on the one hand and Athabaliba on the, uh, on the other. In the case of Pisarro, he’s dressed with a magnificently plumed hat, he is in shining armor, the hilt of a sword shown, and behind him are scenes of the invading Spaniards taking on and ultimately capturing the Incan leader, and working their way on the peoples of the day. On the other hand, the picture of Athabaliba tells his story all too graphically. There are chains around his body, there are chains in the graphics, uh, below him. Gold appears here and there. Above the picture of the Incan monarch there is a face – perhaps a face, uh, to be found in the Incan traditions – but it looks at us and it looks over the hapless king with a menacing view, signifying that the days of Incan leadership are close to over.

[1] The name of this ruler has been rendered with many different spellings, now most commonly spelled Atahualpa. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atahualpa Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

 

 

 

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A comparative view of the principal waterfalls, islands, lakes, rivers and mountains in the Western and Eastern Hemispheres

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I’m going to discuss two maps together. These maps are a curious, uh, graphic, which doesn’t represent any clear geography, but does represent an amalgam of some of the principal features to be found around the world, whether those features were lakes, rivers, mountains, or the like. And what is kind of nice about them is that they bring all the largest mountains together, for example, and you can see visually, uh, which are the tallest and which are the almost-tallest, and so on. So it’s a- it’s a nice comparative graphic, one that gives you some appreciation of how the various features of the world, uh, relate to one another.

 

 

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La corveta Atrevida entre bancas del nieve

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This print is of a corvette[1], a Spanish ship, sailing in turbulent seas. It is, I think, a remarkable rendering of, uh, a vessel contending not only with waves but also, uh, a snowy coast, perhaps even, uh, something of iceberg proportions, but nevertheless, uh, it is close to, uh, land, there is snow on- on- on the land, and it is through that very difficult passage that this- this ship, uh, the Atrevida[2], is, uh, is navigating. The era for this would be in the late 18th century, uh, and it gives a good idea, I think, of what sailors of the day had to contend with, and it’s absolutely marvelous, I think, to look at the rigging of the, uh, of the sails, and the rope-walks that sailors were required to clamber up. You’ll see one on his way up very perilously heading up to the upper portions of the, uh, the mast, uh, and, uh, no one’s quite made it up to the very top, the top mast, but sailors had to do that. This- this particular print gives a wonderful impression of what seafaring would have been like under adverse conditions in the day.

[1] “During the Age of Sail, corvettes were one of many types of warships smaller than a frigate and with a single deck of guns. They were very closely related to sloops-of-war. The role of the corvette consisted mostly of coastal patrol, fighting minor wars, supporting large fleets, or participating in show-the-flag missions.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

[2] “The Descubierta and Atrevida were twin corvettes of the Spanish Navy, custom-designed as identical special exploration and scientific research vessels. […] They were launched together on 8 April 1789.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descubierta_and_Atrevida Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

 

 

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Engraving of Sebastian Münster

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This is an engraving of a mapmaker. The mapmaker is the, uh, well-known mapmaker of the 16th century called Sebastian, uh, Münster. We don’t know exactly who engraved this portrait of Münster, but in the course of the rest of the collection, uh, at Villanova University’s Falvey Library there will be many, many wood-cut maps, early maps, famous maps, performed by this, uh, mapmaker. He was, uh, born and lived his life largely in what is now Germany, and, uh, his work was pioneering work, uh, copied by many in the years that followed.

 

 

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One world

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This map is not really so much a map as it is, uh, three views from space of our beautiful, uh, and somewhat endangered, uh, planet. In each of the views – and they’re side-by-side – uh, there is a slight turning of the globe so that one sees a different part. Uh, this map or this, uh, spectacular view of the Earth from three different vantage points was produced by, um, a company called Raven Maps. Raven Maps in the last twenty years or so has, uh, made some of the most sumptuous, colorful, and beautifully-rendered maps. This one, uh, again, not really a map, but three views of the Earth is, uh, a beneficiary, of course, of the fact that we now have the ability to look back at o- at our planet from space and see it through entirely new eyes.

 

Low resolution partial preview for in-copyright image.

Title: One world

Contributors: Allan Cartography (Firm), Raven Maps & Images, Stuart Allan, Karin Kunkel

Call Number: SMITH I-32

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The planet Earth

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This item is not so much a “map” as it is a view from space at our “ocean planet,” as it, uh, refers. Floating off to the left is a somewhat-diminished picture of the Moon. Again, this is an image that has been made possible by the remarkable, uh, exploration that we’ve been able to make of near space and our ability now to turn the cameras, uh, in our satellites back on ourselves so we can see this extraordinary planet that we live on. Clouds swirl. Green spaces predominate, uh, here and brown spaces there. One sees where the mountains are. One sees even what looks like a cyclone just off the coast of- western coast of Mexico. It really, uh, causes one to reflect on the fact that there we are, lost in a black void, a lonely blue planet travelling through the Solar System.

 

Low resolution preview for in-copyright image.

 

Title: The planet Earth : a digital portrait of our ocean planet

Contributors: Spaceshots Inc., Laboratory for Atmospheres (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Call Number: SMITH I-27

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Papua men in New Guinea in their canoes hunting wild hogs; [and] : War canoes of Otaheite equipp’d for engagement as represented by Capt.n Cooke

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This print reflects an engraving of a scene of probably a scene from the, uh, uh, early 1800s, uh, of a native, uh, from Papua New Guinea in a dugout canoe, one looks like, with side riggers to give it stability and it appears that he’s using a spear to, uh, spear wild hogs that apparently are swimming in that part of the world. Uh, this is one of a pair of prints that my wife and I purchased when we were in Auckland in New Zealand and, uh, found an old bookstore that, uh, had these for- for sale. We were just intrigued with the way in which it revealed a lifestyle that is obviously quite foreign, uh, to most of us living here in the United States in this century, but, uh, exciting and revealing of the character and the, uh, rigor with which, um, life was led in that- in that day is reflected on the, uh, on the print.

 

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691573