Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Old Master Print of the Battle of Lepanto by Stradanus

The item below has been sold, but if you enter your email address we will notify you in case we have another example that is not yet listed or as soon as we receive another example.

Get notified

Stock number: 19179

Zoom Image

Johannes Stradanus (biography)


Illustrissimo Domino Antonio de Leiva

First Published

Antwerp, 1590

This Edition

Amsterdam, 1621


34.0 x 45.6 cms




This Item is Sold


Legendary iconic depiction of the naval Battle of Lepanto after a drawing by Jan van der Straet (Stradanus). First engraved by Adriaen Collaert in 1590 and published by Philip Galle in Antwerp, this is the enlarged re-issue by Lambert Corneliszoon in Amsterdam (active 1594-1621).


Of utmost rarity. Rijksmuseum (RPK Rijks Prenten Kabinet) does not have the 1590 version by Collaert and Galle, nor does it have this larger mirror version by Lambert Corneliszoon.

This is the second copy known of this print, the other copy is in the collection of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, in the legendary collection of J.C.J. Bierens de Haan (1867-1951), bequeathed to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in 1951.


Second state with the imprint of Claes Janszoon Visscher. In very fine condition. New Hollstein 326 state II. A fine and even imprint of the copperplate, with no imperfections or restorations. Excellent collector's example of this iconic old master print.

Battle of Lepanto, 7 October 1571

In the right foreground we see the bow of a large Christian galley that has just sailed over an Ottoman galley. Many drowning Ottomans lie in the water in the middle and left. In the foreground is a battle between a Christian and an Ottoman galley. The three lanterns on the back of both ships show that these are admiral ships. The Turks are recognizable by their turbans and the flag with crescent moon.

On October 7, 1571, a naval battle took place near the city of Lepanto on the Gulf of Corinth between a Christian and a Turkish fleet. The fleet of the Holy Alliance (Spain, Venice, Genoa and the Pope) was commanded by Don John of Austria. The Turkish fleet was under the command of Müezzinrade Pasa. It was a major defeat for the Turks, which was celebrated exuberantly throughout Christian Europe.

According to the inscription on the print, this image was made after the painted sets by Johannes Stradanus with which Florence was decorated during the entry into the city of Duchess Christina of Lorraine on April 30, 1589. Stradanus, from Bruges, worked with great success as a fresco painter and tapestry designer at the court of the Medici in Florence from 1555 onwards. For the entry of 1589 he submitted two designs for sets. In addition to 'The battle of Lepanto', he chose as pendant 'The retreat of the Turks after the siege of Vienna'. Only the latter design by Stradanus was accepted. Lepanto was rejected and that assignment went to the painter Bernardino Monaldi (employed 1588-1607), who painted the battle much less spectacularly. Stradanus, however, had already sent his designs to Antwerp to be eternalized in copper plate by Collaert. Given the inscription, Collaert was not aware of the rejection of this design [for the festivities in Florence]. Both prints were published by Collaert's father-in-law Philips Galle (1537-1612). Later Lambertus Cornelisz (1546-1621) made a mirror image copy of Collaert's print (the example offered here).

(Box and de Haan).

This print by the Amsterdam engraver Cornelisz is a slightly enlarged, mirror-image copy of the engraving by Collaert. It is remarkable that the text has been copied in its entirety, including the year 1590. It is not clear when Visscher (circa 1587-1652) published this print. It is even questionable whether he was the one who commissioned Lambert Corneliszzoon to copy Collaert's image.

Visscher, the son of a ship's carpenter, was born in Amsterdam. In addition to the profession of etcher, he also practiced that of a publisher. In addition to topographical prints, he also published landscapes, by and not by his own hand. During the Twelve Years' Truce (1609-1621), he focused on depicting current events and cartoons. Around 1630 he concentrated more and more on publishing prints and he himself rarely etched anymore. He had old images re-engraved and he also bought old copper plates several times. He regularly mentioned himself as a publisher in his publications, but 'forgot' to mention the engraver. As a result, the engraver unfortunately remains anonymous for some of the prints published by Visscher.

(Box and de Haan).

Sources show that the Flemish artist Johannes Stradanus, whose career flourished from about 1555 in Florence, collaborated on several occasions on large-scale, temporary decorations, most of them commissioned by the grand dukes de'Medici, for important dynastic events such as baptisms, entries into cities and funerals. A multitude of artists and craftsmen carried out these decorations on the basis of often complicated iconographic programmes. In 1564, for instance, on the occasion of Michelangelo's funeral in S. Lorenzo, Stradanus painted the grisaille Michelangelo in 1529 in his dwelling in the Giudecca being received by the nobles of Venice by order of the Doge Andrea Gritti and the Signoria. In 1565, for the triumphal entry into the city of Johanna of Austria, he painted all the pictures decorating the triumphal arch erected on the Canto de' Tornaquinci. These consisted of five scenes glorifying the following exploits of rulers of the House of Austria: Rudolf conferring the Archdukedom of Austria on Albrecht I, Maximilian II being crowned emperor, Ferdinand I defending Vienna against the Turks, Albrecht slaing Adolf of Nassau in a battle, Philip II of Spain receiving the corona obsidionalis from Malta and two large trompe-l'oeil street views. In 1574, for the funeral of Cosimo I de'Medici in S. Lorenzo, Stradanus was probably involved in the painting of the skeletons and coats of arms. Furthermore, on the occasion of Francesco I de Medici's funeral in S. Lorenzo in 1587, he painted the grisaille Francesco visiting his betrothed, Johanna of Austria, in Innsbruck; in 1588, for the entry of Ferdinando I de' Medici into Pisa, the canvas The burial of Pope Stephen I in the catacomb of Callixtus for the decoration of S. Stefano dei Cavalieri; in 1589, for the entry of Christina of Lorraine, the painting The retreat of the Turks after the siege of Vienna, as part of the decorations on the Canto de' Bischeri. Finally, in 1598, for the obsequies in memory of Philip II of Spain in S. Lorenzo, the grisaillc The siege and capture of Antwerp; for the same occasion he also provided the design for the grisaille The conquest of the Philippine islands, painted by his son Scipione.

Stradanus' first commissions date from the start of his career in Florence, when he was working in Vasari's studio. As one of the master's assistants in decorating the Palazzo Vecchio, he had already gained ample experience in large-scale painting for the Medici. After leaving Vasari's studio in about 157 and setting up as an independent artist, Stradanus remained one of the leading Florentine artists who received commissions for official large-scale decors. He retained this status up to a venerable age, a sign of the appreciation he continued to enjoy in this field.

Unfortunately none of Stradanus' decorative work has survived, with the exception of the canvas in Pisa. An impression of his skill in this field in conveyed by contemporary sources and the sketches, drawings, etchings and engravings presented in this article. This material clearly shows that in his long and productive life Stradanus was not only active as a painter of frescos and altarpieces and a designer of tapestries and engravings, but also played a prominent role at the court of the Medici as a painter of decorations.

(Van Sasse van Ysselt).

Johannes Stradanus (1523-1605)

Johannes Stradanus, or Giovanni Stradano, or Jan van der Straet or van der Straat, or Stradanus or Stratensis (Bruges 1523 – Florence 2 November 1605) was a Flanders-born mannerist artist active mainly in 16th century Florence, Italy. Born in Bruges, he began his training in the shop of his father, then in Antwerp with Pieter Aertsen.

By 1545, he had joined the Antwerp guild of Saint Luke or painters' guild, the equivalent of the Roman (Accademia San Luca). He reached Florence in 1550, where he entered in the service of the Medici Dukes and Giorgio Vasari. The Medici court was his main patron, and he designed a number of scenes for tapestries and frescoes to decorate the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano, and providing illustrations for the Arazzeria Medicea. He also worked for the Pazzi Family in their estates in Montemurlo.

Many of his drawings became so popular they were translated into prints. Stradanus collaborated with printmakers Hieronymus Cock and the Galle family in Antwerp to produce hundreds of prints on a variety of subjects. He also worked with Francesco Salviati in the decoration of the Vatican Belvedere. He was one of the artists involved in the Studiolo of Francesco I (1567-1577), to which he contributed two paintings including "The Alchemist's Studio".

Karel van Mander wrote about Stradanus in his Schilder-boeck (book of famous painters), mentioning that he was 74 in 1603 and still a member of the Florence drawing academy. He also mentioned his pupil Antonio Tempesta, who painted ships and Amazon battle scenes (bataljes), mainly in 16th century Florence, Italy.

Johannes Stradanus is one of the most well-known unknown artists in history. Even though the Bruges-born painter (1523-1605) had a more than successful career in the highly competitive city of Florence in the second half of the 16th century, his name long remained a well-hidden secret for specialists only. Many of his works, though, are very well known.

Around 1570, Stradanus – who began as designer of tapestries and fresco painter in service of the Medici – started a second career as draughtsman and designer of hundreds of prints. These were engraved, published and distributed all over the then-known world by Antwerp publishers in huge numbers. It are these works – widely collected, copied and used – which secured Stradanus’s place in art history as an inventive and influential artist.

Johannes Stradanus died in Florence in 1605.


New Hollstein (Dutch and Flemish) 342-345 (Johannes Stradanus).
Stevens & Tooley: Map Collector 2, p.22-24, "One of the Rarest Picture Atlases".
van Mander: Schilder-boeck, 1604.
Sellink: Stradanus (1523-1605), Court Artist of the Medici, 2008.
Markey: Renaissance Invention - Stradanus's Nova Reperta, 2020.