Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden

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America das ist Erfindung und Offenbahrung der Newen Welt deroselbigen

This historic engraving is from Johann Theodor de Bry’s America das ist Erfindung und Offenbahrung der Newen Welt deroselbigen. The work was published in Frankfurt by N. Hoffmann for the author in 1617. It was edited by Philip Zeigler. Some of the engravings were completed by Matthaeus Merian. This was the only German edition of De Bry’s Grands Voyages.

Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher. He came from a family of jewelers and engravers, and faced persecution for his Lutheran faith during the Spanish Inquisition. De Bry would be most known for his engravings of the New World from Grands Voyages, a work which would reach 30 volumes in scope. He was inspired to create this work after meeting Richard Hakluyt in 1587, who had published his own collection of voyages. Hakluyt helped de Bry obtain paintings from the New World as well as giving him a copy of Hariot’s Virginia. Many of the original paintings of America were done by Jacques Le Moynes de Morgues and John White then transferred to copper plates by de Bry.

De Bry’s landmark work depicted the early voyages and settlements in the Americas. His work greatly influenced the European view of the Americas for a long period of time. De Bry’s prints provide an important contemporary view of European conquest and settlement in early America. The images depict native customs, culture and warfare, and episodes in the history of European contact with these natives and their world. As Michael Alexander said, De Bry’s work “brought to the European public the first realistic visualization of the exotic world opened up across the Atlantic by the explorers, conquerors and settlers.” (Discovering the New World, p. 7) The engraving offered here is from the only German edition published by Thedor de Bry’s son, Johann Theodor de Bry (1560-1623).

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