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Antique maps > europe > low countries - belgium > Antique map - Leo Belgicus, by C.J. Visscher
THE SITTING LEO BELGICUS - One of the rarest and most beautiful maps of the 17th century.
Novissima, et Accuratissima Leonis Belgici, seu Septemdecim Regionum Descriptio Auct. N.I. Visschero. - Visscher C.J. (1587-1652), between 1611 and 1621.
Exquisite map of the sitting lion, which van der Heijden calls "One of the peaks of 17th-century cartography". C.J. Visscher made this map on the occasion of the Twelve Years' Truce (1609-1621) between Spain and the United Netherlands, as appears from many a text on the map.
Date of this print: In or between 1611 and 1621.
Visscher's map in the form of a sitting lion is an emblematical representation of the Twelve Years' Truce (1609-21) between Spain and the Seven United Provinces.
The lion is surrounded by a great number of texts and symbols relevant to this event. To the left t'Vrije Neerlant (The Liberated Netherlands) together with t'Neerlandt onder d'Aertshartogh Albertus (The Netherlands under Archduke Albertus) trample d'Oude Twist (Old Conflict). In the sky a cherub named Zeghen (Blessing) strewing Rijckdom (Wealth), Veilighe Tijdt (Safe Time), Const en Wetenschap (Art and Science) and Kennisse Goodts (Theology) over the town and country below, where inscriptions refer to t' Lants Welvaert (Prosperity of the Country), t Vergrooten der Steden (The Growth of the Towns), Coophandel (Trade), t'Vredich Lantbouwen (Peaceful Agriculture) and t Veijlich Reijsen (Safe Travel). In the sky to the right is an angel with a trumpet of fame and the words Bestant voor 12 Iaer (12-Year Truce). Below this is a landscape with t'Overvloedich Vee (Abundant Cattle). The sitting lion has his sword sheathed, decorated with two seals, one with the seven arrows for the northern provinces and the other with the Burgundian cross for the southern provinces, and the inscriptions of Duodecim annos and voor twaelf jaren (for twelve years). In the lower right corner is a depiction of the Slapende Oorlogh, an allegorical figure of a Sleeping Mars.
The first edition of this map (of which only 1 copy is known), bears an imprint placed in the lower left corner. Since it gives Visscher's address as inde Calverstraet, where he lived from 1611 onwards, the map must have been published in this year or later (in any case before 1621, the end of the Twelve Years' Truce).
The map is framed by decorative borders on three sides. Above the title strip runs a small frieze with coat of arms of the provinces, each with a caption above it. The two side borders contain town views, to the left the residence in The Hague and nine town views in the Northern Netherlands, to the right the residence in Brussels and nine town views in the Southern Netherlands. These town views are mostly faithful copies of the larger ones designed by Claes Jansz Visscher for Blaeu's 1608 wall map of the Seventeen Provinces.
The map was engraved by an artist in Visscher's workshop, and the allegorical scenes surrounding the map were etched by Visscher himself. The town views were etched by another hand, probably by Pieter van den Keere.
Currently not available for sale
Size: 47 x 57.5cm (18.3 x 22.3 inches)
Condition: Old coloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Heijden (Leo Belg), 5.2; Schilder 6, 53.2.
Separate publication, second state (of two), only one copy known of the first state.
Item number: 13715
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