A rare 1698 view of Bethlehem by Dutch artist Cornelius de Bruijin. Depicts the city as well as the nearby herding grounds. Arab horsemen, loungers, and a hunting dog roam in the foreground. This view was most likely rendered in secret during de Bruijin's second world tour. The Holy Land was then under the control of the Ottoman Empire who imposed strict limitations on pilgrims and tourist from Europe. It is highly unlikely that de Bruijin would have been allowed to make sketches of the region openly.
Cornelius de Bruijin (1652-1727), alternatively known as de Bruyn, was born in The Hague, Holland, in 1652. He was a prominent Dutch artist and traveler of the late 17th and early 18th century. His is known to have made two large tours of Europe and Asia in which he made numerous drawings of the great cities and ruins of the Middle East. In a bit of shady dealing, some suppose that our Cornelius de Bruijin was in fact the same Cornelius de Bruijn who tried to assassinate the legendary Dutch statesman Johan de Witt. Although de Bruijin vehemently denied any relation to the infamous assassin of the same name, there is some suspicious activity regarding his finances on his first trip that may suggest the contrary. In any case, he was not charged with any crime and the mystery of his finances may indeed be assumed to represent an espionage commission for the Dutch government. De Bruijin is particularly famed for his depictions of Persepolis in Persia, is one of the first Europeans to have recorded the interior of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and is known for two fascinating books he published about his travels. Despite his successes, de Bruijin died a pauper and, some claim, insane, near Utrecht in 1727. Such is the artist's life.
Very good condition. Original folds.