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1646 Blaeu Map of the Bay of Genoa, Italy

Riviera di Genova di Levante

1646 Blaeu Map of the Bay of Genoa, Italy


Incredible old color 17th century map of Genoa and Liguria showing nearby Cinque Terre



Riviera di Genova di Levante
  1646 (undated)    16 x 20.5 in (40.64 x 52.07 cm)     1 : 250000


This incredible 1646 Johannes Blaeu map of the Bay of Genoa depicts the Ligurian coast from Genoa (Genoua) to the Cinque Terre. There is a large, allegorical decorative cartouche for the title of the map. A few sailing ships are present in the bay, perhaps to suggest the power of the Genovese navy. The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Genoa appears at the top of the map. The Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 to 1797, when it was fell to the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, the Cinque Terre, five fishing villages along the coast, are a world heritage site and are world famous, bringing tourists from every part of the world to the Ligurian coast.

This map was issued for the 1646 Latin edition of Johannes Blaeu's iconic Atlas Mayor.


Johannes Blaeu (September 23, 1596 - December 21, 1673), also known as Joan Blaeu, was a Dutch cartographer active in the 17th century. Johannes was the son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu, founding of the Blaeu firm. Like his father Willem, Johannes was born in Alkmaar, North Holland. He studied Law, attaining a doctorate, before moving to Amsterdam to join the family mapmaking business. In 1633, Willem arranged for Johannes to take over Hessel Gerritsz's position as the official chartmaker of the Dutch East India Company, although little is known of his work for that organization, which was by contract and oath secretive. What is known is his work supplying the fabulously wealthy VOC with charts was exceedingly profitable. Where other cartographers often fell into financial ruin, the Blaeu firm thrived. It was most likely those profits that allowed the firm to publish the Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive, Atlas Novus, their most significant and best-known publication. When Willem Blaeu died in 1638, Johannes, along with his brother Cornelius Blaeu (1616 - 1648) took over the management of the Blaeu firm. They vastly expanded and updated the Atlas Novus to a remarkable 12 volumes. Under the brothers' capable management, the firm continued to prosper until the 1672 Great Amsterdam Fire destroyed their offices and most of their printing plates. Johannes Blaeu, witnessing the destruction of his life's work, died in despondence the following year. He is buried in the Dutch Reformist cemetery of Westerkerk. Johannes Blaeu was survived by his son, also Johannes but commonly called Joan II, who inherited the family's VOC contract, for whom he compiled maps until 1712.


Blaeu, W., Atlas Major, (Amsterdam) Latin Edition, 1646.     The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas Novus, also published as the Atlas Major was first issued by Willem Jansz Blaeu and his son Joan Blaeu in 1635. The first edition contained about 207 seminal maps that ushered in a new golden age of Dutch cartography and established the distinctive flourishing highly decorative baroque Blaeu style. Most of the maps in this edition were closely based upon the earlier well established work of Jodocus Hondius, whose' map plates he had earlier acquired. The atlas continued to be published and republished in expanded and revised editions, reflecting the most up to date cartographic conventions and data derived from Dutch navigators and merchants then plying their trade throughout the world. Willem Blaeu died in 1638 and his son, Joan (Johannes), called teh Altas Major took over subsequent publications of the atlas. The final edition of the atlas, published from 1662 to 1672, consisted some 594 maps compiled into upwards of 9 volumes with some editions containing as many as 12 volumes. In 1672 a tragic fire destroyed the sprawling Blaeu workshop, then the largest cartographic publishing house in the world. Countless map plates were lost and the following the fire the Blaeu firm ceased production.


Very good. Latin text on verso. Very minor archival repair to outer margin. Margins are extremely large, often several inches. Does not effect printed image.


OCLC 165859181.
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