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Storytelling in Miniature

Theodor de Bry
Franco-Flemish, 1528–1598

Diana and Her Nymphs Surprised by Actaeon

5 3/4 x 4 9/16 in.
William J. Hitchcock Fund in Memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 1993.82

Depicting the same subject as the print on the previous page by his son Johann de Bry, Theodor de Bry here shows the moment that goddess of the hunt Diana (seated) begins transforming the hapless Actaeon into a stag for discovering the goddess and her nymphs bathing in the wood. The hounds are beginning to turn on their master as antlers emerge from his head.

Born in Liège, Belgium, de Bry was known as a jeweler/engraver, but in 1588 he moved to Frankfurt-am-Main and began a career as a book illustrator and publisher. His engraving style is thought to be influenced by Sebald Beham, whose works are also featured in this catalogue. De Bry is perhaps best known for his illustrated books based on the early European exploration of the Americas. In 1590 he published a new, illustrated edition of Thomas Harriot’s Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, about the first English settlement in North America. Much of Europe’s understanding of the New World at the time was based on the books published by de Bry.