A very attractive 1632 old color example of Hessel Gerritsz's important map of Russia. 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. Learn More...
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571 - October 18, 1638), also known as Guillaume Blaeu and Guiljelmus Janssonius Caesius, was a Dutch cartographer, globemaker, and astronomer active in Amsterdam during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Blaeu was born 'Willem Janszoon' in Alkmaar, North Holland to a prosperous herring packing and trading family of Dutch Reformist faith. As a young man, he was sent to Amsterdam to apprentice in the family business, but he found the herring trade dull and instead worked for his cousin 'Hooft' as a carpenter and clerk. In 1595, he traveled to the small Swedish island of Hven to study astronomy under the Danish Enlightenment polymath Tycho Brahe. For six months he studied astronomy, cartography, instrument making, globe making, and geodesy. He returned to Alkmaar in 1596 to marry and for the birth of his first son, Johannes (Joan) Blaeu (1596 – 1673). Shortly thereafter, in 1598 or 1599, he relocated his family to Amsterdam where he founded the a firm as globe and instrument makers. Many of his earliest imprints, from roughly form 1599 - 1633, bear the imprint 'Guiljelmus Janssonius Caesius' or simply 'G: Jansonius'. In 1613, Johannes Janssonius, also a mapmaker, married Elizabeth Hondius, the daughter of Willem's primary competitor Jodocus Hondius the Elder, and moved to the same neighborhood. This led to considerable confusion and may have spurred Willam Janszoon to adopt the 'Blaeu' patronym. All maps after 1633 bear the Guiljelmus Blaeu imprint. Around this time, he also began issuing separate issue nautical charts and wall maps – which as we see from Vermeer's paintings were popular with Dutch merchants as decorative items – and invented the Dutch Printing Press. As a non-Calvinist Blaeu was a persona non grata to the ruling elite and so he partnered with Hessel Gerritsz to develop his business. In 1619, Blaeu arranged for Gerritsz to be appointed official cartographer to the VOC, an extremely lucrative position that that, in the slightly more liberal environment of the 1630s, he managed to see passed to his eldest son, Johannes. In 1633, he was also appointed official cartographer of the Dutch Republic. Blaeu's most significant work is his 1635 publication of the Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive, Atlas Novus, one of the greatest atlases of all time. He died three years later, in 1638, passing the Blaeu firm on to his two sons, Cornelius (1616 - 1648) and Johannes Blaeu (September 23, 1596 - December 21, 1673). Under his sons, the firm continued to prosper until the 1672 Great Fire of Amsterdam destroyed their offices and most of their printing plates. Willem's most enduring legacy was most likely the VOC contract, which ultimately passed to Johannes' son, Johannes II, who held the position until 1617. As a hobbyist astronomer, Blaeu discovered the star now known as P. Cygni. Learn More...
Good. Old color. Some age toning. Several verso reinforcements and repairs to margin and original centerfold.