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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Allegory of America

Artist:
Nicolaes Berchem (Dutch, Haarlem 1621/22–1683 Amsterdam)
Date:
mid-17th–late 17th century
Medium:
Black chalk, brush, black ink, gray wash. Incised for transfer.
Dimensions:
17 5/8 x 11 13/16 in. (44.8 x 30 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of the Estate of James Hazen Hyde, 1959
Accession Number:
59.208.90
Not on view
This drawing served as a model for an engraved title page in the second volume of an atlas on the Americas, Joan Blaeu’s Atlas Maior (Amsterdam, 1662). Berchem, a prolific draftsman and painter who specialized in landscapes, reconfigured the New World allegory for a Dutch context by including a detailed setting alluding to trade and religion. At the indigenous woman’s feet, another native pours out gold. A salamander and gold bars suggest the exoticism and riches associated with the Americas. Background scenes show the metal being mined, carried, and transported on a European vessel. Up in the clouds, European allegories convert natives to Christianity and battle the devil.
Signature: Lower right in balck ink: Berchem

Inscription: Sticker on backing: Berghem / 106 -Allégorie sur L'Amerique Dessin encre de chine
written: 3727
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection".

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