This is a scarce 1638 Matthais Merian city plan or map of Moscow. Though an intermediary source may have been Hessel Gerritz, the map is believed to have been ultimately derived from a Russian survey prepared at the orders of the Czar of Muscovy, Boris Godunov. Iterations of this plan first appear in the final, 1617, edition of the Braun and Hogenberg city book. A reduced version was included as an inset in Hessel Gerritz's Tabula Russiae, the plate for which would later be purchased by Blaeu for inclusion in his atlas. Apart from the Braun and Hogenberg, this appears to be the earliest full-sheet edition of the plan, which pre-dates by more than twenty years the version included by Joan Blaeu in his Atlas Maior. Although this map's information dates to the end of the 16th century, the onset of the Time of Troubles following the death of Boris Godunov would curtail much reliable contact with this part of the world, and so well into the 17th century this plan would remain the most up-to-date mapping of Moscow available. An inset of this plan would even adorn the 1676 map engraved by Francis Lamb for inclusion in the last editions of the Speed atlas.
The PlanThe plan is oriented to the west-north-west and shows the concentric city walls of the Kremlin, Kitai Gorod and the old city at the junction of the Moscow and Neglinnaya rivers. A legend with a letter-and-number key labels city features. In addition the map also notes the Kremlin and Kitai Gorod, the Streltsy encampment, churches, courts and other public buildings.
Publication History and CensusThis map was executed in 1638 for inclusion in Matthias Merian's Neuwe Archontologia cosmica, a German translation of Pierre d'Avity's 1616 Les Estats, empires, et principautez du monde. We identify about ten examples of later editions of Merian's Neuwe Archontologia cosmica in institutional collections, and twelve examples of this separate map are so cataloged, in various editions.
Matthäus Merian (September 22, 1593 - June 19, 1650) was a important Swiss engraver and cartographer active in the early to mid 17th century. Merian was born in Basel and studied engraving in the centers of Zurich, Strasbourg, Nancy and Paris. In time Merian was drawn to the publishing mecca of Frankfurt, where he met Johann Theodor de Bry, son of the famed publisher Theodor de Bry. Merian and De Bry produced a number of important joint works and, in 1617, Merian married De Bry's daughter Maria Magdalena. In 1623 De Bry died and Merian inherited the family firm. Merian continued to publish under the De Bry's name until 1626. Around this time, Merian became a citizen of Frankfurt as such could legally work as an independent publisher. The De Bry name is therefore dropped from all of Merian's subsequent work. Of this corpus, which is substantial, Merian is best known for his finely engraved and highly detailed town plans and city views. Merian is considered one of the grand masters of the city view and a pioneer of the axonometric projection. Merian died in 1650 following several years of illness. He was succeeded in the publishing business by his two sons, Matthaus and Caspar, who published his great works, the Topographia Germaniae and Theatrum Eruopeaum, under the designation Merian Erben (Merian Heirs). Merian daughter, Anna Maria Sibylla Merian, became an important naturalist and illustrator. Today the German Travel Magazine Merian is named after the famous engraver.
Hessel Gerritsz (1581 – September 4, 1632) was a Dutch engraver, cartographer, and publisher active in Amsterdam during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Gerritsz is considered to be the preeminent Dutch geographer of the 17th century. He was born in Assum, a town in northern Holland in 1581. As a young man he relocated to Alkmaar to accept an apprenticeship with Willem Jansz Blaeu (1571-1638). He followed Blaeu to Amsterdam shortly afterwards. By 1610 he has his own press, but remained close to Blaeu, who published many of his maps. In October of 1617 he was appointed the first official cartographer of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (Dutch East Indian Company) or VOC. A strategic position that offered him unprecedented access to the most advanced and far reaching cartographic data of the Dutch Golden Age. Unlike many cartographers of his period Gerritsz was more than a simple scholar and showed a true fascination with the world and eagerness to learn more of the world he was mapping in a practical manner. In 1628 he joined a voyage to the New World which resulted in several seminal maps published by Joannes de Laet. Among his more prominent works are a world map of 1612, a 1613 map of Russia by the brilliant Russian prince Fyodor II Borisovich Godunov (1589 – 1605), a 1618 map of the pacific that includes the first mapping of Australia, and an influential 1630 map of Florida. Gerritsz died in 1632. His position with the VOC, as well as many of his printing plates, were taken over by Willem Janszoon Blaeu.
Georg Braun (1541 – March 10, 1622) was a German deacon, viewmaker, and typo-geographer based in Cologne. Along with Franz Hogenberg (1535 - 1590), Braun is best known for his publication of the highly influential city atlas Civitates Orbis Terrarum. The six volume work, with some 546 views, was published between 1572 and 1617 and intended a companion to Abraham Ortelius' Thatrum Orbis Terrarum - thus certain obvious stylistic similarities. In compiling the Civitates Braun took on the role of editor while most of the engraving work was completed by Franz Hogenberg. Braun died, as he was born, in Cologne.
Franz Hogenberg (1535 - 1590), often called 'Master Franz,' was a Flemish engraver active in the late 16th century. Hogenberg was born in Mechelen, the son of Nicolas Hogenberg, where he trained under the cartographer H. Terbruggen. He later relocated to Antwerp where he achieved success as an engraver, working with Abraham Ortelius, Hieronymus Cock, and others. In 1568, his name appeared on the list of those banned from the Netherlands by the Duke of Alva, forcing his family to flee to London. There he engraved for Christopher Saxon's Atlas of England and Wales. By 1570 he emigrated to Germany settling in Cologne. In Cologne he married his second wife, Agnes Lomar, with whom he had six children. In 1579 the couple were briefly imprisoned for holding illicit secret religious meetings, but were released in short order. Along with German cleric George Braun (1541 – March 10, 1622), Hogenberg issued the highly influential city atlas Civitates Orbis Terrarum. The six volume work, with some 546 views, was published between 1572 and 1617 and intended a companion to Abraham Ortelius' Thatrum Orbis Terrarum - thus certain obvious stylistic similarities. In compiling the Civitates Hogenberg took on the role of engraver while most of the editing was left to Georg Braun. Hogenberg died in Cologne, Germany, before the Civitates was completed. After his death, Hogenberg's work was continued by his son, Abraham Hogenberg, who, under the direction of Agnes, his mother, took over his father enterprise at just 20.
Merian, M. Neuwe Archontologia cosmica (Franckfurt am Mayn), 1646.
Very good condition. Extremities of margins toned, else excellent with a bold, sharp strike.