Orbis terrarum typus de integro in plurimis emendatus auctus et inculculis illustratus - #2157

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DATE: c1660

MAP MAKER: Nicolaes Visscher I

SIZE: 18 5/8" X 14 ¼"

PRICE: $7500.00


Claes Janszoon Visscher; 1587 - 1652.
Nicolaes Visscher I, son; 1618 - 1679.
Nicolaes Visscher II, grand son; 1649 - 1702.
Elizabeth Visscher, his wife; c1650 - c1730.

For almost a century, the Visscher family stood as one of the most prominent art dealers and map makers in Amsterdam. Claes seems to have studied under Jodocus Hondius, and later purchased a number of plates from Petrus Kaerius with which he published his first atlas. From 1638 on, he often signed his work with the latinized form of his name: Piscator.
He was mostly known for his richly illustrated scenes of battles and sieges, and for intricately decorated large world maps, replete with allegories and vignette (he is considered as the pioneer of the “Carte à figures” style, later adopted by Blaeu, Jansson and Speed in particular). In 1649 he issued the “Tabularum geographicarum contractarum”, an enhanced remake of the immensely popular 1598 Barent Langenes “Caert Thresoor”.
His son, and then his grand son, continued publishing and updating a considerable number of maps and atlases. Of note from Nicolaes I in 1656 the “Atlas contractus orbis terrarum”, fromNicolaes II in 1683 his “Atlas minor” (which in spite of his name was printed in a full folio format). And lastly, from Elizabeth in 1702 her “Atlas major”.

Orbis terrarum typus de integro in plurimis emendatus auctus et inculculis illustratus

This extremely rare map (18 5/8” X 14 ¼’) is attributed to Nicolaes I Visscher. Its title and the delineation of the continents are identical to the 1614 Claes Vissher world map (safe for the “autralian continent”).
Since 1640, the Visschers have been known to have produced world maps for inclusion in bibles, with a well documented case of first state in 1657 (see Shirley’s “mapping of the world”, p 425).
What makes this example unique is that it differs from later “dutch bible” maps in three aspects:

  • it has a decorative border.
  • it is larger (almost 2 inches taller).
  • it was included in a german geography/historic travel book.

Otherwise, it is similar, with the same layout, commentaries, and lack of identification of the author. The discoveries of Abel Tasman are reported: Tasmania (or Avandiemens landt, a misspelled name for the then dutch governor of Batavia: van Dieman) and the east coast of New Zealand,… forcing the rethinking of the contour of the southernmost continent.

Note that California is still portrayed as a peninsula (while most of the cartographers had adopted the 1625 Henry Briggs delineation of Baja as an island). While la Florida covers most of the east Mississippi basin.
Note also that both the accepted standard representation of the earth centric Ptolemy system, and the “hypothetical” Copernicus sun centric system are shown… not long before this map was issued, in 1633 Galileo had been condemned by the roman Church for spreading the heresy, hence prudence obliged.

German text on verso.




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