BRUYN, Cornelis de. Voyages...


The Flemish traveller and artist Cornelis de Bruyn (1652-1727) departed from the Hague in 1674 and journeyed through the East until 1693. On his second long journey between 1701 and 1708 he travelled to Persia and Moscow, finally reaching the East Indies. De Bruyn's chronicles are illustrated with hundreds of plates and have thus rightly earned the reputation of being two of the most beautiful travel accounts of all time. He made the drawings himself – “that was the chief aim of my travels”, he wrote – and also supervised the etching of the various views. His chronicle was first published in Flemish and the first French edition of this marvellous work came out in Delft in 1700. According to De Bruyn's own testimony, on his journey throughout the East he carried with him the travelogues of P. Della Valle, J. Thevenot, Ol. Dapper, J.J. Grelot and T. Smith.

He reached Smyrna from Sicily, visited Ephesus and continued on from Magnesia, finally arriving in Constantinople, where he stayed for a year and a half. He describes in his work not only the splendid capital, but also the coasts of the Bosporos. On 1 July 1680 he crossed the Dardanelles by boat. He described the Troy region and in February 1681 departed again from Smyrna, bound for Chios, where he stayed for some time. He called this island “paradise”. De Bruyn then travelled in the Eastern Mediterranean, first to Cos and Rhodes, of which he gave a description, then to Egypt and from there to the Holy Land and Syria. On his return voyage, he visited Cyprus. The rich illustrations of his work made it extremely popular. De Bruyn is the first traveller to have depicted the interior of the pyramids in Egypt, Palmyra in Syria and Persepolis in Iran, as well as everyday “snapshots” of his journey.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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