BLAEU, Joannes (1596-1673). ). Extrema Americae Versus Boream, Ubi Terra Nova Nova Francia. Amsterdam: J. Blaeu, c 1662.
Single sheet (21 x 24 ¾ inches, full margins showing the plate mark) (Light browning to margin edge.)
An exceptionally fine engraved map of Newfoundland; hand-colored by the Master Colorist Dirk Jansz. Van Santen.
The map is colored in outline with cartouches, decorative borders, embellishments, and landmarks fully colored, in rich and exotic colour combinations, with added elements to clothing, heightened in gold and gum Arabic.
The seventeenth century has been rightly termed the age of atlases and at the forefront of their production was the Blaeu family of cartographers. Willem Janszoon Blaeu had been the pupil of Tycho Brahe and published his first atlas in 1631. His Johannes Blaeu, was to help him in this venture, and after his father's death took on the mantle of the family business and continued the tradition of atlas-making. This map of Newfoundland is from Joan Blaeu's 'Atlas Maior' and was the only map in the entire atlas to detail Canada apart from that of the whole of North and South America. During this period little was really known of the Canadian interior with seventeenth-century cartography of the Americas focusing on one particular goal: the search for a north-west passage to the Indies. This led explorers along a northerly track towards the Davis Straits and along a southerly route up the Saint Lawrence and into the heart of the North American continent. It was this latter search, as well as the extensive fishing grounds, that resulted in fairly detailed maps of Newfoundland. In Johannes Blaeu's map these fishing grounds are clearly marked and the fertility of the sea is represented in the charming cartouches surrounding the title and mapmaker's name. Around the title are placed fisherman with their nets and numerous codfish, and playful putti hold fish around Johannes Blaeu's name-plate.
"Van Santen applied transparent and opaque colours at the same time in both mixed and pure tints. He often painted the whole surface of the map or illustration, transforming the graphic light and dark contrasts into colour. To dark areas representing shadows, clothing pleats or the 'repoussoir', the foreground of a landscape, he applied his characteristic shiny varnish; this had the effect of brightening the colour. He devoted a great deal of attention to skies and horizons, frequently making use of the same colour progression...." (Goedings). Atlases and books coloured by van Santen are found in the libraries of the most prominent collectors of the golden age of Dutch cartography "...Bibles and atlases, bound in deluxe bindings by Albert Magnus (1642-1689) and decorated by van Santen were considered gifts worthy of princes. Travellers and poets wrote about this work" (Goedings). The coloring authenticated by Truusje Goedings, author of "Dirk Jansz. Van Santen...a survey" 1992.
For more information on this map, or a warm welcome to see other maps and books of our collection at 72nd Street NYC, please contact Natalie Zadrozna.