About - Video
Images functioned as tools for justification every bit as much as texts. Find here video studies of images relating to justification in general, and see the video sections in other chapters – such as Jamestown – for studies of images closely connected with specific locales.
- America as Sleeping Beauty: Johannes Stradanus's "America" - The Art of Justification by Edward J. Gallagher
- In our anti-imperialistic and gender-sensitive critical climate, the unfamiliar America (c. 1575-1580) by Dutch engraver Johannes Stradanus (1523-1605), also known as Jan Van der Straet, is making fair bid to replace more familiar images of our founding moment such as John Vanderlyn's Landing of Columbus (1844) as the heraldic shield for America, as the emblem of Discovery. Stradanus depicts a very European Americus Vespucci awakening and bestowing his name on a very naked Sleeping Beauty of a Native American. "Americus rediscovers America," his motto reads, "He called her but once and thenceforth she was always awake." Europe, Africa, and Asia had always been gendered female, but the image of a naked continent is virtually unique to America, flourishing in the last quarter of the 16th century and persisting well into the 19th . This erotic image of the first contact of European Self and American Other is art as "the instrument of empire," indicative that America was produced for Europe as a passive vulnerable female waiting for her lover/conqueror. This is our inaugural naming moment seen through the naked discourse of colonialism, an example of what Michel de Certeau calls "writing that conquers.