The Blaeu family of map publishers dominated the Golden Age of Dutch cartography during the seventeenth century. Their sumptuous and ornate colour atlases remain the pinnacle of artistic mapmaking and a new site has been launched by the Archive of Leiden to showcase a gorgeous 6-volume work, 'Toonneel des Aerdrycks', produced in the mid-1600s.
The Dutch cartographic style was characterised by increasingly decorative embellishment that tended to highlight the development in exploration, trade and commerce. Imagery was derived from a combination of exotic contemporary scenes and elements of classical mythology.
The 6-volume series was apparently produced specifically for a Leiden Mayor from the Dutch East India Company. The work has become sufficiently fragile that public access to the original books is restricted; hence the books have been digitised. It hardly matters that there is no English at the website.
I'm not sure whether the selection of images (spliced screencaps) above of name plates and medallions really does this work the justice it deserves. Maps are a fairly difficult breed of illustration to display successfully in static form on the internet, so I went off on a bit of a tangent for a change. [Most of the above are from Volume 1 - I didn't even notice the other five until later on (the stupid is strong in me at times)]
'Toonneel des Aerdrycks' : click 'Bekijk de atlassen in de viewer'
[direct link to viewer] ---- this is the best flash viewer I've seen. The viewing screen can be increased by maximizing your browser size. Note: click 'Kaartenindex' for thumbnail displays. There's a little arrow top right that gets rid of the sidebar to increase the viewing area. [Home page of Regionaal Archief Leiden] [via]
UPDATE (Jan 2013): the link to the map site has been updated but I'm not sure where/how to link direct to the viewer.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Posted by peacay at 1:36 p.m.