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In the 17th century the Dutch commercial fleet counted hundreds of ships sailing the known and unknown worldseas. Knowledge about the international and European developments, were of course of the greatest importance. An important news vehicle was De Europische Mercurius. First it was a quarterly issue, later it was published biannually Being mainly focussed on events in Europe, the newsmessager, Mercurius, was often shown on the annual frontcover together with the symbol representing Europe, the Lady with the Bull/god. De Europische Mercurius appeared between 1690 and 1756, or 65 years of publication. In this period the chronicle was issued by repectively four bookshops, two in Amsterdam and the last two from the Hague. The second bookshop, holding the isseuing rights was Andries van Damme, located on the Rokin in Amsterdam from 1702-1727. Apparently he was well acqainted with the Dutch artist Jan Goeree, designer, engraver, poet and publisher. During the 'van Damme period' four frontcoverprints show Mercurius with Lady Europe representing the continent in one way or another.
In 1704 the title print of de Europische Mercurius shows Mercurius standing
on a pedestal showing messages about Bavaria and other duchies to crowned queen
Europa reaching eagerly for the news. The battle of Benheim ( was won by the
allied forces under the duke of Marlborough and the prince Eugénie de Savoie (Austria).
Wounded soldiers and armaments are at his feet. In the distance the
Dutch-English fleet that conquered Gibraltar, keeping navigation open to the
The head of the bull on her left side; the bull no longer a god but a sign of the presence of Europe. In that period editor and bookseller A.van Damme worked together with his collegue Daniël Dalen in the Hague. The design is from Jan Goeree, 1670-1731, and the engraver according to the titleprint Pieter Sluyter,1702-1737.
In 1713 finally a precarious peace was concluded in Utrecht. The title print, 159-138mm, of that year shows Europe this time seated, supported by the bull in her back. Europe is wearing a crown topped with a battered european city.The gods Minerva-war and Peace-Venus are closing in on her. Venus throws the contents of her cornucopia in her lap, if only Europe will hold on to peace. Designer and engraver are unknown. Jan Goeree did the title poem of explanation, so might as well be the designer too.
Europe is mentionned three times in his Poem of Titleprint Explanation:"...From oversea with rapid feet - He turns to Europe to greet......To her the cornucopia she throws - So where Peace is Europe goes...
...He will deceive himself sadly -
when Minerva presses Europe badly..."
In 1716 Europe appears again on the title print. Laurel crowned Europe is holding the six month old deceased son, Leopold Johan, of the German emperor Karel VI. This occurrence paved the way for his sister Maria-Thérèse to succeed to the throne. The bull is watching the scene from behind. On the right apparently the escape of the catholic British throne pretender James Edward Stuart by boat from Scotland to France.
(She is curious about the outcome of the sea battle)
"Europa is more interested - What power will be vested"
January, 1, 2014 to be continued
De Europische Mercurius - Sequel.
The editor Andries van Damme and Jan Goeree, printdesigner and writer of the accompnying, explanatory poem both died around 1730. The chronicle was first continued by his widow. Other changes of editors came about but they all published under the name Heirs of Ratelband. Ratelband was again a bookshopowner and editor in Amsterdam. In this period the print and accompanying poem became a regular feature. But no names of printdesigners and/or engravers or poem writers are known. Only the 1736 print carries the name of of its designer/engraver, Jan Ruyter, 1688-1744, likewise bookseller inAmsterdam. But the 1736 issue print does not show Europa. Actually, in the period 1730 - 1740, four prints introduce Europa, but in a slightly different way. The older J.Goeree prints show the head of the bull against the body of Europa, hiding his corps behind her. After 1731 the bull appears in full length with Europa sitting elegantly on the lying bull.
1731 is the year of the second Peace of Vienne, signed by Austria (the Holy Roman Empire), Spain, Gr.Britain and the Dutch Republic. The print gives Mercuur on a pedestal showing Europa an image of the Spanish crownprince Carlos. His heritage of his mothersside, the duchy of Parme in Italy, appears to be acceptable to the European powers. Europa reacts relieved at the news. (27_05) On the right Peace sitting relaxed with armories at her feet. Behind her the tomb of the deceased king of Denmark, Frederik IV. The bull looks again from behind Europa.
In the explanation of the titleplate it says: "Why Euroop appears to show - Her hope in top will grow" (hope for lasting peace)
Nicolas-Jean Hugou de Bassville, 1743-1793, was a journalist, writer and during the French Convention he became diplomat and secretary of the French delegation in Naples. Before the explosion of the French revolution he wrote in French parts of the Greek mythology, issued in 1784. He analysed it and added comments on the known epos and poems of Homer and Virgil. Concerning Europe'myth, he added a fragment of the phoenician historian De Sanchoniaton, translated in Greek by Philon Bybliusin the first century, Although there are no writings known by him. The Phoenician writer, who was supposed to live in the period of the Trojan war, is now considered to be a forgery by Philon. Philon adhered to the doctrine of Euhemerus, which does find a historical proof in the writings of the Phoenician. In his writings are also mentioned the myth of Europe, supposed to be of Phoenician descent.
De Bassville's comments on the Europa myth remain in the traditional explanations of his time, which are based broadly on Ovid's Metamorphoses. The 24 engravings are from Bernard Picard and les Cochins. It is likely that Bernard Picard did the Europe prent.
April 16th Antwerp
Sorry for the late date, my Lady, Tony Waterreus, passed away on the 3rd of this month.
The Chinese Lacquer Art has existed for thousand of years. It was only in the 17 and 18th century it was taken up in Europe. Very much like the effects of the confrontation with imported Chinese porcelain. The composition of Chinese lacquer origines from specific Chinese trees. In Europe the highest quality lacquer was obtained in France by the family Martin. European lacquer was made of a combination of shellac, and resins of kopal and sandrak. After 1750 lacquer was made on a basis of oil or "peinture à huile verniepolie". Many rococo style paintings were used as an inspiration for decoration of furniture and smaller products with this lacquer paint.
Picture 27_14 shows a needlecase with a halfway top with tortoiseshell lining and gold mounting. In lower picture Europe is sitting on the bull. A maiden and a cupido is helping her with covering the neck of the bull with flowers. When turning the needlecase around an additional maiden shows up. The painting is said to be after the style of François Boucher. Although the half-naked Triton in Boucher's painting does not show up and the number of persons and their position are all rather free interpretations. But surely the style is rococo.
Sources are Museum für Lackkunst, Münster and an article Vernis Martin by Annemarie Klootwijk in the February issue of this year of Collect, Gent, België
The Hague, Kijkduin, 1 Mei
A versatile Dutch artist, Hariie Geelen, born in 1939, studied Dutch literature, but beside writer of books, songs, television series, mostly for the young, he became also a designer, illustrator, drawing books with cartoonstories, etc. He illustrated about all the books of the Dutch writer, Imme Dros, his wife. Amongst many others she retold and rewrote several known Greek classical stories and myths. In 2012 her 'Griekse Mythen' was published by Querido, Amsterdam-Antwerpen, Of course again illustrated by her husband, invcluding the myth of Europe.
His Europe illustration is kept very basic, no emotions, no mediterreanean influences, no flowers. The style here reflects a kind of naive art.
's Hertogenbosch, June 1st, Pam Weiler - Gerritsen
The much debated European Parliament elections of this May, 2014, resulted in an Europa front prent of The Economist, May 31st-June 6th
In its comments, Europe is floored by the bull, representing the member states. The latter showed an upsurge of Eurosceptic parties, interpreted by the weekly as European Teaparties. Nevertheless, Europe appears to be readying herself to confront the bull again on the decision of a democratic appointment of the President of the European Commission.
June 1st, your commentator