Ivory globe on bronze pedestal

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Antonio Spano of Tropea
Ivory with bronze pedestal.
diameter: about 3 1/8 inches (80 mm)
Gift of J.P. Morgan, Jr.
Inscribed: near the South Pole: "Antonius Spano tropiensis facie 1593." In the unnamed southern continent, and over a representation of the Spanish arms, is a dedication to the Infante Philip: "Principe Philip. Philip II Hisp. Indiar. Neap. E Siciliae Cathol. Regis Filio." Within the Antarctic circle a salutation reads: "Princeps felicissime totus Orbis ad se gubernandum te vocat et expectat."--O most fortunate ruler, the whole world calls to you and awaits your governance.
Possibly Philip II of Spain; Said to have once belonged to the Kempenaer family of Leeuwarden and was later acquired by H.J. Pfungst of London through the firm of Muller & Company in Amsterdam; acquired by J. Pierpont Morgan through an unknown source after 1904; by descent to J.P. Morgan, Jr.

This miniature terrestrial globe is comprised of two hollow ivory spheres mounted on a bronze base likely of a later date. By the sixteenth century the labor-intensive process of engraved, drawn, and painted globes had largely been replaced with printed paper gores which could be cut and glued onto a spherical base ensuring a higher accuracy and standardization of cartography. One-of-a-kind globes of the time such as this ivory piece were typically made with aesthetic intent, rather than for scientific study. Its maker, Antonio Spano (d. 1615), did however make an effort to faithfully represent contemporary geography as understood at the time. For example, the east coast of North America is well articulated. Spano includes several inscriptions in the small sculpture, such as over the region of China which reads; "Hic artem impremendi ante mille anos habuerunt," or "Here they had the art of printing a thousand years ago." This dedication may indicate Spano's interest in printmaking --his talent for producing woodcut translated fluidly to ivory engraving. In an unnamed southern continent, over a representation of the Spanish arms, Spano inscribed a dedication to the Infante Philip, also known as Philip III (1598-1621) and Philip II (1527-1598) which reads; "Principe Philip. Philip II Hisp. Indiar. Neap. e Siciliae Cathol. Regis Filio." In 1595 Spano was granted a generous pension of one hundred ducats by his patron, Philip II. The Spanish monarch's broad artistic patronage contributed to a period marked by a rise of cultural growth in literature, music, and the visual arts known at the Spanish Golden Age.