Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art History (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Rebecca Parker Brienen

Second Committee Member

Lise Drost

Third Committee Member

Perri Lee Roberts


In this thesis I analyze the Dutch frontispiece to Francois Valentijn's 1726 book Oud en Nieuw Oost Indien and demonstrate that it is a significant artistic statement, original in its rich and imaginative iconography and emblematic program. I describe and explain the image and its iconographic program and emblematic structure. I compare the frontispiece to many other Dutch frontispieces and artworks that likewise feature the four continent allegories and other iconographic elements. I demonstrate the ways in which the frontispiece superbly and comprehensively summarizes and visualizes the text, which is the primary purpose of frontispieces. I also show how the image emulates early eighteenth-century Dutch culture by reflecting the period's nostalgia for Golden Age styles and subjects. In conclusion I clarify the way in which the image functions emblematically and explain the twofold meaning of the emblem and proving that the image is exceptional and unique within the context of the historiography of Dutch frontispieces.


European Art; Title Pages; Natural History; Publishing; Dutch Golden Age