ORIGINAL ETCHING BY REMBRANDT
REMBRANDT. Der Zee-Vaert Lof, Handelende vande gedenckwaerdighste Zeevaerden met de Daeraenklevande op en Onderganghen der Voornaemste Heerschappijen der Gantscher Wereld. By Elias Herckmans. , 235,  pp. Illustrations include engraved allegorical title-page and 18 large etchings illustrating the text, one by Rembrandt and 17 by Willem Basse. Folio, 297 x 202 mm, bound in eighteenth-century Dutch dark brown calf spine, gilt floral vignettes in compartments, matching decorated paper over boards. Amsterdam: Jan F. Stam for Jacob Piertersz Wachter, 1634.
First and Only Edition of "The Praise of Navigation," Herckmans's Der Zee-Vaert Lof, one of the very few books containing an original etching by Rembrandt van Rijn. No more than three books with a total of six illustrations by Rembrandt are known.
In this volume Rembrandt's original etching, measuring 111 x 164 mm (p. 97), heads the third book of the epic, which begins with a description of Emperor Augustus's achievements in government. The etching has long been regarded as an allegory of Mark Antony's fall and the battle of Actium, "but without sufficient reason, since Rembrandt in the etching keeps faithfully to the text, even to the footnotes. In the beginning of the book only Augustus is mentioned. It was he who closed the temple of Janus as a token of peace, who had heavy battleships converted into light merchantmen, entrusting them to fortune. It was he who, hurrying from coast to coast, had cared personally for everything relating to his vast empire. All this we recognize in the etching, delineated in a realistic Baroque style, massive in movement but clear. Augustus' war horse, no longer needed, breaks down, as only peaceful work awaits the Emperor" (Benesch).
Herckmans's "Praise of Navigation" traces the develop-ment of discovery from the voyage of Noah, continuing in chronological order up to the year 1631. Among the notable navigators cited herein are Columbus (p. 157), Vespucci (p. 161), Sir Francis Drake, Vasco de Gama, et al. The illustrations by Willem Basse include a splendid Baroque frontispiece of Neptune and his horses. Some repairs to the head and tail of spine, internally an excellent copy, a clear, sharp impression of the Rembrandt etching.
Hinterding, Rembrandt Etchings 93. Hofer, Baroque 125. Sabin 31476. Bartsch 111 (state 2 of 2). Hind 106. European Americana 634-69. JCB II, 251-2. Borba de Moraes I, 335. Benesch, Rubens to Daumier, pp. 21-2 and plate 16. Davies, Fairfax-Murray German 357. Alden 634/639.
Item nr. 153634