1632 Gerritsz and Godunov Map of Russia

Tabula Russiae ex autographo, quod delineandum curavit Foedor filius Tzaris Boris desumta ... Magno domino, Tzari et magno duci Michäeli Foedrowits omnium Russorum, autocratori ... dedicata ab Hesselo Gerardo.

1632 Gerritsz and Godunov Map of Russia


Scarce map of Russia reflecting the work of the short lived but promising Tzar and boy genius, Fyodor II Borisovich Godunov.

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Tabula Russiae ex autographo, quod delineandum curavit Foedor filius Tzaris Boris desumta ... Magno domino, Tzari et magno duci Michäeli Foedrowits omnium Russorum, autocratori ... dedicata ab Hesselo Gerardo.
  1632 (undated)    17 x 21.5 in (43.18 x 54.61 cm)     1 : 8950000


A very attractive 1632 old color example of Hessel Gerritsz's important map of Russia. The map covers. Centered on Moscow, the map covers from the North Sea to the Caspian Sea and from Nova Zembla to Trabzon (Black Sea south coast). There is a large and impressive inset map of Moscow in the upper left quadrant and vignette view of Archangel (Archangelsckagoroda) at right center.

The large inset of Moscow in the upper left quadrant is of special note. The top left corner features an inset plan of Moscow that is centered on the Kremlin, Belygorod and the Kityagorod and 17 locations via a key to the right. This plan first appeared in print on the present map and proved highly influential, being copied for many decades. At center-there is a view of Archangel, the Arctic port that until the foundation of St. Petersburg (1703), was Russia’s only maritime gateway to the world.

This map is attributed to Fyodor II Borisovich Godunov (1589 – 1605) a precocious young Tzar who ruled Russia from 1598 – 1605, when he was murdered by agents of False Dimitriy I. The well-educated young monarch produced manuscript maps of Russia and Moscow which survive in the Russian national archives. Godunov’s manuscript maps were brought to Amsterdam by Isaac Abrahamszoon Massa (1586-1643), a Dutch merchant and diplomat considered to have been the first western 'Kremlinologist.'

The map illustrates Russia as it appeared during the Time of Troubles (1598-1613), a period of political and social upheaval during the interregnum between the czars of the Rurik Dynasty and the ascendency of the Romanovs. The period included the rise and fall of the ‘False Dmitriys' pretenders claiming to be the heirs of the Rurik Dynasty. During this period Russia suffered from infighting, foreign invasion, and famine. It is estimated that nearly 1/3 of the Russian population died.

Hessel Gerritsz obtained the Godunov maps from Massa and compiled them into the original plates for this map in 1613. A second edition was issued in 1614. Gerritsz died in 1632 and the plate came into the hands of Willem Janzoon Blaeu (1571-1638), who published the present edition.


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.

The Blaeu Family (fl. 1596 - 1672). The Amsterdam based Blaeu clan represents the single most important family in the history of cartography. The firm was founded in 1596 by Willem Janzoon Blaeu (1571-1638). It was in this initial period, from 1596 to 1672, under the leadership of the Willem Blaeu and with this assistance of his two talented sons Cornelius (1616-1648) and Johannis (1596-1673), that the firm was most active. Their greatest cartographic achievement was the publication of the magnificent multi-volume Atlas Major. To this day, the Atlas Major represents one of the finest moments in cartography. The vast scope, staggering attention to detail, historical importance, and unparalleled beauty of this great work redefined the field of cartography in ways that have endured well into to the modern era. The cartographic works of the Blaeu firm are the crowning glory of the Dutch Golden Age of Cartography. The firm shut down in 1672 when their offices were destroyed during the Great Amsterdam Fire. The fire also destroyed nearly all of Blaeu's original printing plates and records, an incomparable loss to the history of cartography.


Good. Old color. Some age toning. Several verso reinforcements and repairs to margin and original centerfold.


OCLC 320501512.