dimanche 2 septembre 2007

Colomb rentre enchaîné en Espagne

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Le retour enchaîné de Colomb en Espagne.

[DIDAL] after [CHAALLE]
Christopher Colomb.
circa 1788. Engraving with aquatint. Proof before publication line. Printed on watermarked 1788 laid paper. In good condition with the exception of a large crease running along the lower left corner of image. Horizontal crease along lower section of sheet. Multiple creases in title space. Image size: 21 ¾ x 17 7/8 inches. 24 ¼ x 19 inches. 25 1/6 x 19 7/8 inches. A striking engraving of Christopher Columbus returning to Spain after his third voyage to the new world. In 1498, Columbus set out on his third expedition to the new world with an envoy of six ships. The complaints of earlier colonists had taken their toll, and Columbus was forced to include convicts among the assemblage to Hispaniola. The ships were divided into two groups, one destined immediately for Hispaniola, and the other, under Columbus, to continue the search for China. The exploration party touched land first at Trinidad, off the coast of Venezuela, then sailed toward the mainland. A sighting of the Orinoco River mouth convinced Columbus that he was on the shores of a major continent, not another island. He sailed next for the settlement on Hispaniola, where conditions were persistently chaotic. Complaints to Spanish officials were so frequent that a royal governor was dispatched to the colony in 1500. Columbus was arrested and shipped back to Spain in chains. Ferdinand and Isabella, whose sympathy was waning, spared the explorer from imprisonment, but his reputation suffered badly. This beautiful, sentimental engraving shows the moment when Columbus returns to Spain after his third voyage. Although he is escorted by soldiers, he is greeted by adoring citizens who openly bewail his unjust imprisonment. There is no record of the painter or engraver of this print, but the paper and title seem to suggest it was executed in France. The engraving style and subject matter is typical of French history prints at the close of the eighteenth century, as is the composition and figure handling.

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