Maps have fascinated me right from the beginning of my encounter with antique prints. Maps, especially the earliest printed ones, document our growing knowledge about the earth we live on. And they do so, geographically, as well as artistically. The early mapmakers were among my heroes as a boy, as much almost as the Greek figures of mythology or the voyagers exploring the world. Mapmakers were intelligent and educated, venturous, probing and courageous. And so were the early publishers of atlases, the compendiums of maps. Some of the Renaissance and Baroque maps were truly pieces of masterful art, extraordinarily decorative and adorned with sea monsters, sailships, windroses and, sometimes, with paraphernalia indiginous to the inhabitants or the wildlife of the area shown. While it was easy to show countries like Great Britain, Italy, Denmark, Spain with their coastlines defining their contures, thus supporting the decorative value of a map, it was quite another thing to make Bohemia, Bavaria or Switzerland, countries without such borderlines, appear interesting as a map. Just look how the mapmakers drew in forests and mountains and rivers to overcome an eye's boredom! And the excellency of their phantsy of cartouches! And although the early maps I speak of lack the precision of maps we now have, the inherent inacuracy was their charm!
Maps were usually published in atlases. And atlases were books with titles. And, again, titles were individual pieces of art. A publisher emphazised the importance of a book he published with a spectacular entrée. Usually the pictures of an atlas title page pertained in general to the subject matter: Measuring instruments, mythologigal, astronomical, religious, scientific, allegorical hints and facts were united in a composition which depicted the pride of progress in knowledge. An atlas title page often is just one superb artistic and jubilant cartouche! But what are words? Just have a look at some of them in the following chapter. Can you feel less than intrigued by them...?
"Grosser Deutscher Atlas." (Great German Atlas)
Copper etching by Karl Schuetz after Franz Johann Joseph von Reilly (1766 - 1820)
Misleading title, as it was the first Austrian-made complete world atlas. Published in Vienna in three volumes between 1794 and 1796, of which the title was: Grosser Deutscher Atlas.
Very good condition.
43 x 56.8 cm (16.9 x 22.4")
Order Nr. ATLASTITLE97112
Copper etching by Andr. Hoffer
after I. Iust. Preisler, dated 1762.
A typical baroque atlas title with two putti (cherubs) holding the book title Helios (Sol) and Zeus (Jupiter) are thundering through the clouds in their wagons, a male angel relates his findings of measuring Afghanistan to a female angel who writes a book: "Introduction to Geography", while the science of astrology is depicted by a female with a skirt adorned with the firmament holding astronomical instruments
47 x 27.2 cm ( 18.5 x 10.7 ")
Order Nr. ATLASTITLE9701A
Copper etching by Martin
Gottfrid Crophius after Jacob Christoph Weyerman
49 x 28 cm ( 19.3 x 11 ")
The center of this title
shows Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia in a hemispherical
globe surrounded by allegorical personifications and typical
animals living on the various continents. Above all are
putti blowing wind in four directions, Pegasus on a mountain
top. Mercurius and Neptune with their symbols, ocean.going
vessels and a playful symbolic depiction of the four
elements. At the bottom symbols of science and power
flanking the title cartouche.
Upper and right margins have
been reinforced due to small repaired tears on margin edges
and a repair
Order Nr. ATLAS TITLE9702A
Gvil. Et Ioannis
When you compare this title page with the following one you can see how different editions of atlases came about. This one is in the Latin language, the following one in German. This one was published by Johan and Cornelius Blaeu in 1640, the following one only by Johan Blaeu in 1647. The rest of the decoration remained untouched. Only the publisher's signum was added separately printed to the cartouche below.
Copper etching. Modern hand coloring and guilding. Amsterdam 1640
Print has wide margins. Light,
scattered spotting in margins.
32.3 x 19.3 cm ( 12.7 x 7.6 ")
Order Nr. ATLAS TITLE9703A
Gvil. und Iohannem
Print has wide margins. Light
browning on right margin edge.
32.5 x 19.5 cm ( 12.7 x 7.6 ")
Order Nr. ATLAS TITLE9704A
Contrafactur und Be
Honor, Constantia, Dignitas, Pax, Iustitia, Diligenti, Sapientia
Copper etching in original coloring. Cologne, ca. 1580
This title was a formidable decoration to the fourth book (of five) of Georg Braun's and Franz Hogenberg's famous and incredibly beautiful as well as important "Civitates Orbis Terrarum" published in Cologne between the years 1572 and 1590. The beauty of the etchings inside the book are reflected by the introductory beauty of the title. The translation of the the title cartouche in the German language is: "Depiction and Description of the most noble Cities of the World". And while this book is not exactly an atlas, we have added it to this collection, as it definately is also a description of the world, just as atlases are.
Backside is printed with article (in Latin) concerning the privledges of Maximilian II as well as information about the historian and geographer Franz Hogenberg.
Print has light scattered
spotting, especially in margins. Right margin edge has tiny
33.7 x 22.2 cm ( 13.2 x 8.7 ")
Order Nr. ATLAS TITLE9706ASOLD
Unter den zweien
Neue Landes Beschreibung der
Gott, Vergilt in diesem
Copper etching in original hand coloring and guilding published in Husum, 1652
At the top left of the page is
"Ein Cimber" ( Early inhabitant of Denmark).
On the left side is an image of a Friesien and a Saxon. In the lower left corner is an image of Archbishop Ansgarins Primus of Hamburg.
On the right side is an image of an Angelschwabe with a captured head on a pole. Below that is an image of a Wende. In the lower right corner is an image of Bischop Vicelinis of Aldenburg.
Right, left and upper margins have been added and reinforced. Tiny repaired tears on lower margin edge.
40.5 x 27.5 cm ( 15.9 x 10.8 ")
Order Nr. ATLAS TITLE9707A
Title on door:
"Novvs Atlas Sinensis, a Martino
Martinio Soc. Iesu
The sixth book published by the Blaeu family in Amsterdam was devoted mainly to China and Japan. The maps in this atlas were done by the Jesuit cartographer Martino Matini (1614-1661). And that's why the cute little cherubs are holding a map of East Asia and the globe's face also shows East Asia and, lo and behold for that early age, a fairly accurate depiction of Australia. A Gate with guilded hinges opens to a landscape typical of China.
Left margin has been added. Right and lower margins have been reinforced. Repaired tears in right and lower margins. One tear in lower margin reaches 1 cm into image. Margins are browned with scattered spotting.
42.5 x 26.2 cm ( 16.7 x 10.3 ")
Order Nr. ATLAS TITLE 9708A SOLD
© Rainer Rauhut