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Russia by M. Merian 1638

Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593-1650)

Matthäus Merian, the leading German illustrator of the 17th century, was born in Basel in 1593. He learned the art of copperplate engraving in Zurich and subsequently worked and studied in Strasbourg, Nancy, Paris, and the Low Countries. In 1618 he went to Frankfurt, wherein 1618 he marries the eldest daughter of J.T. de Bry, publisher and engraver. After de Bry died in 1623, he took over his business. De Bry’s business remained in Merian’s family until 1726 when a fire destroyed it. In 1635 he began the series Theatrum Europaeum, and between 1642 and 1688 he published Martin Zeiller’s Topographia Germaniae, with more than 2,000 plates etched and engraved by himself and his sons Matthäus and Caspar. He also took over and completed the later parts and editions of the Grand Voyages and Petits Voyages originally started by de Bry in 1590. Matthäus Merian died after in 1650 in Bad Schwalbach near Wiesbaden.


Hessel Gerritsz. (1580/81 – 1632)

Hessel Gerritsz. was one of the most influential and innovative map makers of the seventeenth century. He was born in Assum in North Holland and went to school in Alkmaar. He must have known Willem Jansz. (= Willem Blaeu) who stayed in Alkmaar for several years. Later he moved to Amsterdam for his further education.
After the closing of the Scheldt River, Amsterdam’s competitor was cut off so that Amsterdam could take over the function of the world trade centre. Flourishing Amsterdam offered plenty of work and exercised an excellent attraction for the craftsmen from the Southern Netherlands. The two dominating publishers in the cartographical field were Cornelis Claesz. and Jodocus Hondius from the Southern Netherlands. Hessel Gerritsz. was trained in the graphic trade by David Vingboons, a painter and artist from the Southern Netherlands.
After his apprenticeship with David Vingboons, Hessel Gerritsz. continued his schooling in the publishing house of Willem Jansz. (Blaeu). There he was able to perfect his etching style and was given the mathematical skills which would be so valuable to him later, and he learnt the trade of mapmaking. Together with the engraver Josua van den Ende, he was responsible for engraving the superb wall map of the Seventeen Provinces (1608). Van den Ende engraved the map image while Hessel Gerritsz. took care of the decorative borders and the decorations on the main map.
During his activities for Willem Jansz. Hessel Gerritsz. not only perfected his etching and engraving style but also received the geographical and mathematical education that would stand him in good stead in later years. He could wish for no better cartographical school. Blaeu’s workshop was a repository where geographical information from all parts of the world came together.
Hessel Gerritsz. married in 1607 to Geertje Gijsbertdr. One of his children, Gerrit, born in 1609, was to follow in his father’s footsteps. Shortly after his marriage, he established himself as an independent engraver, mapmaker and printer.
Hessel Gerritsz. regularly worked with Claes Jansz. Visscher as well. They co-operated for a long time.
His artistic talent comes to the fore in his map of the Leo Belgicus, depicting the Seventeen Provinces in the shape of a lion. This was seen as a symbol of the courage and persistence of the Dutch provinces in their resistance against Spanish tyranny.
In 1612-13 Hessel Gerritsz. was intensively busy with publications about Russia. In 1612, the influential booklet Beschryvinghe vander Samoyeden Landt appeared by him. The two chapters about Siberia were provided by Isaac Massa, who had lived in Moscow for nine years. With the aid of original Russian material, Gerrritsz. produced a series of three maps in folio format: a map of Russia and town plans of Moscow and the Kremlin. He also made a new important wall map of Lithuania and engraved it on four plates for Willem Blaeu. In the meantime, he also made a wall map and a folio map of Spain.
Next to these works undertaken on his initiative, Hessel Gerritsz. also accepted engraving and publishing tasks for third parties.
In 1617, Hessel Gerritsz. published a large wall map of Italy in six sheets. He gave his wall map an extra cachet by extending the map image with town views and costumed figures. Willem Blaeu copied the map shortly after its publication. To protect himself against such plagiarism in the future, he requested a patent from the States-General. In January 1618, they granted him a general license in which, amongst other things, it was forbidden in any way to reproduce, copy or distribute his maps, both written or printed.
Hessel Gerritsz. was so highly regarded in 1617 that he received such an extraordinary privilege. He was appointed as an instructor in geography for the Councillors of the Admiralty at Amsterdam and as a mapmaker for the Chamber Amsterdam of the VOC. With both appointments, his old employer Willem Blaeu was passed over. As a mapmaker of the VOC, he improved and expanded the charts for navigation to and from the Indies. The chart maker, of course, did not draw the charts needed for the VOC ships himself. He manufactured specific prototypes, the so-called leggers (master charts), which served as models for copying work by his assistants in his house.

At the beginning of September 1632, Hessel Gerritsz. died at the age of 52. He must be considered one of the most comprehensive map makers of his time. “He was multi-disciplined in his working method, integrating graphical technique and artistic expression in his scientific approach. Because of his mathematical talent, he was able to solve nautical problems and make proposals about them. His exceptional network – the interviews with pilots from diverse companies and his correspondence with persons at home and abroad – supplied him with a huge amount of geographical and nautical information that he used most efficiently. His good contacts with the families of the great merchants and ship owners and the representatives of the influential regents opened doors for him. He was, without doubt, the most informed person in geographical matters in Amsterdam of his time.” (Schilder)

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Tabula Russiae ... alias dicta Moscovia.

€500  ($7000 / £430)
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Item Number:  25918
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Eastern Europe

Old map of Russia by M. Merian.

Based on Blaeu's map (Cartographer: Hessel Gerritsz).
With inset view of Archangel.
The map extends to the west to include all of Scandinavia.

Date of the first edition: 1638
Date of this map: 1638

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 28 x 35cm (10.9 x 13.7 inches)
Verso: Blank
Condition: Excellent.
Condition Rating: A+

From: Gottfried J.L. - Merian M. Newe Archontologia Cosmica, ... Frankfurt, W. Hoffmans, 1638.

Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593-1650)

Matthäus Merian, the leading German illustrator of the 17th century, was born in Basel in 1593. He learned the art of copperplate engraving in Zurich and subsequently worked and studied in Strasbourg, Nancy, Paris, and the Low Countries. In 1618 he went to Frankfurt, wherein 1618 he marries the eldest daughter of J.T. de Bry, publisher and engraver. After de Bry died in 1623, he took over his business. De Bry’s business remained in Merian’s family until 1726 when a fire destroyed it. In 1635 he began the series Theatrum Europaeum, and between 1642 and 1688 he published Martin Zeiller’s Topographia Germaniae, with more than 2,000 plates etched and engraved by himself and his sons Matthäus and Caspar. He also took over and completed the later parts and editions of the Grand Voyages and Petits Voyages originally started by de Bry in 1590. Matthäus Merian died after in 1650 in Bad Schwalbach near Wiesbaden.


Hessel Gerritsz. (1580/81 – 1632)

Hessel Gerritsz. was one of the most influential and innovative map makers of the seventeenth century. He was born in Assum in North Holland and went to school in Alkmaar. He must have known Willem Jansz. (= Willem Blaeu) who stayed in Alkmaar for several years. Later he moved to Amsterdam for his further education.
After the closing of the Scheldt River, Amsterdam’s competitor was cut off so that Amsterdam could take over the function of the world trade centre. Flourishing Amsterdam offered plenty of work and exercised an excellent attraction for the craftsmen from the Southern Netherlands. The two dominating publishers in the cartographical field were Cornelis Claesz. and Jodocus Hondius from the Southern Netherlands. Hessel Gerritsz. was trained in the graphic trade by David Vingboons, a painter and artist from the Southern Netherlands.
After his apprenticeship with David Vingboons, Hessel Gerritsz. continued his schooling in the publishing house of Willem Jansz. (Blaeu). There he was able to perfect his etching style and was given the mathematical skills which would be so valuable to him later, and he learnt the trade of mapmaking. Together with the engraver Josua van den Ende, he was responsible for engraving the superb wall map of the Seventeen Provinces (1608). Van den Ende engraved the map image while Hessel Gerritsz. took care of the decorative borders and the decorations on the main map.
During his activities for Willem Jansz. Hessel Gerritsz. not only perfected his etching and engraving style but also received the geographical and mathematical education that would stand him in good stead in later years. He could wish for no better cartographical school. Blaeu’s workshop was a repository where geographical information from all parts of the world came together.
Hessel Gerritsz. married in 1607 to Geertje Gijsbertdr. One of his children, Gerrit, born in 1609, was to follow in his father’s footsteps. Shortly after his marriage, he established himself as an independent engraver, mapmaker and printer.
Hessel Gerritsz. regularly worked with Claes Jansz. Visscher as well. They co-operated for a long time.
His artistic talent comes to the fore in his map of the Leo Belgicus, depicting the Seventeen Provinces in the shape of a lion. This was seen as a symbol of the courage and persistence of the Dutch provinces in their resistance against Spanish tyranny.
In 1612-13 Hessel Gerritsz. was intensively busy with publications about Russia. In 1612, the influential booklet Beschryvinghe vander Samoyeden Landt appeared by him. The two chapters about Siberia were provided by Isaac Massa, who had lived in Moscow for nine years. With the aid of original Russian material, Gerrritsz. produced a series of three maps in folio format: a map of Russia and town plans of Moscow and the Kremlin. He also made a new important wall map of Lithuania and engraved it on four plates for Willem Blaeu. In the meantime, he also made a wall map and a folio map of Spain.
Next to these works undertaken on his initiative, Hessel Gerritsz. also accepted engraving and publishing tasks for third parties.
In 1617, Hessel Gerritsz. published a large wall map of Italy in six sheets. He gave his wall map an extra cachet by extending the map image with town views and costumed figures. Willem Blaeu copied the map shortly after its publication. To protect himself against such plagiarism in the future, he requested a patent from the States-General. In January 1618, they granted him a general license in which, amongst other things, it was forbidden in any way to reproduce, copy or distribute his maps, both written or printed.
Hessel Gerritsz. was so highly regarded in 1617 that he received such an extraordinary privilege. He was appointed as an instructor in geography for the Councillors of the Admiralty at Amsterdam and as a mapmaker for the Chamber Amsterdam of the VOC. With both appointments, his old employer Willem Blaeu was passed over. As a mapmaker of the VOC, he improved and expanded the charts for navigation to and from the Indies. The chart maker, of course, did not draw the charts needed for the VOC ships himself. He manufactured specific prototypes, the so-called leggers (master charts), which served as models for copying work by his assistants in his house.

At the beginning of September 1632, Hessel Gerritsz. died at the age of 52. He must be considered one of the most comprehensive map makers of his time. “He was multi-disciplined in his working method, integrating graphical technique and artistic expression in his scientific approach. Because of his mathematical talent, he was able to solve nautical problems and make proposals about them. His exceptional network – the interviews with pilots from diverse companies and his correspondence with persons at home and abroad – supplied him with a huge amount of geographical and nautical information that he used most efficiently. His good contacts with the families of the great merchants and ship owners and the representatives of the influential regents opened doors for him. He was, without doubt, the most informed person in geographical matters in Amsterdam of his time.” (Schilder)

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