By: Claes Janszoon Visscher
Date: 1652 (published) Amsterdam
Original Size: 17.5 x 22 inches (44.5 x 55.9 cm)
This is a high quality reproduction of an original 17th century map of the world by Claes Janszoon Visscher, with contemporaneous coloring. The original map was published out of Amsterdam in the year 1652.
This later state of Visscher’s 2nd world map was prepared upon the Mercator projection. Interestingly, there are few maps to this point that employed the more useful projection introduced by Gerard Mercator in his great wall map of the world in 1569. This map adopts a style similar to those used by Blaeu and Jansson in their world maps throughout the first quarter of the 17th century.
Visscher’s map features geographical updates such as the recently discovered Hudson Bay as well as a St. Lawrence River that completely lacks any sign of the great lakes. Instead the source of the river is shown to be a small lake nearly 3/4 the distance across the North American Continent. Other geographic features worth noting include early signs of the Australian continent, false lakes within South America and Africa, and the Anian Strait between Asia and North America, pushing the idea of a Northeast Passage. Polar projections can be found at the lower corners and a cartouche with text regarding the history of America graces the top left portion of the map.
What’s arguably most eye appealing about this map is the decorative border that surrounds it. Twelve Roman emperors are honored above and below the map from Julius Caesar to Domitianus. Flanking the map are 14 panels showing city views and various natives from the far reaches of the world. Finally, at each corner are allegorical figures representing the four continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.