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1719 Van der Aa Map and View of Moscow, Russia

Moscou Capitale de la Moscovie Suivant Olearius. - Main View

1719 Van der Aa Map and View of Moscow, Russia


Very rare early view of Moscow.



Moscou Capitale de la Moscovie Suivant Olearius.
  1719 (undated)     11.5 x 14.5 in (29.21 x 36.83 cm)     1 : 15000


A scarce and finely engraved 1719 view and map of Moscow, Russia by Pieter van der Aa. Oriented to the west, this remarkable view illustrates all of Moscow as it appeared at the end of the 17th century. It gives the impression of a bustling and yet supremely fortifiece city. The conjunction of the Moskva and Neglinnaya Rivers form a natural moat around the Kremlin complex. Canals form additional moats around ever larger curtain walls. The whole is drawn on an axonometric projection wherein individual buildings are rendered in profile and clearly identifiable. The most important of these are further identified numerically or alphanumerically and correspond to a table to he left of the main map. At the base of the map there are a series of decorative views illustrating Russian hunters and farmers. A decorative cartouche, bearing the Russian janiform eagle armorial crest, appears in the upper right quadrant.

The view itself is based upon the 1633 studies of Abraham Olearius, who in his capacity as the Germany embassy to Moscow and Persia, traveled extensively throughout Russia. This view was engraved in Leiden by Pieter (Pierre) van der Aa for inclusion in Olearius' Voyages tres-curieux et tres-renommez faits en Moscovie, Tartarie et Perse.


Pieter van der Aa (1659 - 1733) was a Dutch publisher of maps and atlases active in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Van der Aa was born in Leyden in 1659. At nine he was apprenticed to a local bookseller and, by 21, had established his own publishing, printing, and auctioneering house. In 1692 Van der Aa was appointed to be one of the High Commissioners of the Booksellers Guild. During his long and impressive career Van der Aa produced thousands of maps, including a vast 28 volume atlas containing no less than 3,000 maps. Few of Van der Aa's maps were original productions, most being copied from the work of earlier cartographers. Nonetheless, when one of Van der Aa's rare original pieces does appear, his style, with unusual projections, elegant engraving, and precise detail, is instantly recognizable and highly desirable. He also pioneered the cartographic idea of separating border artwork from the map plate itself such that every map in a collection could have a similar elaborate border without actually having to re-engrave the complex plates. This technique was used to great effect by later 18th century publishers like Brion de la Tour. Following Van der Aa's death in 1733, his much admired Nouvel Atlas was reissued by the Dutch firm of Covens & Mortier. Today Van der Aa's work is admired for its fine delicate engraving and unusual projections and is considered highly desirable among collectors. Learn More...


Olaerius, A, Voyages tres-curieux et tres-renommez faits en Moscovie, Tartarie et Perse, (Leiden: van der Aa) 1719.    


Very good. Light overall toning. Original pressmark visible. Blank on verso.