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The Truce Map

Title
Novissima et Accuratissima Leonis Belgici seu Septemdecim Regionum Descriptio. Auct: N.I. Visschero.
Author
VISSCHER, Claes Jansz
Publisher
Claes Jansz Visscher,
Publication place
Amsterdam,
Publication date
[1611-1621 or later].
Dimensions
470 by 580mm. (18.5 by 22.75 inches).
Price
£65,000
Reference
2691
  • Description

    Hand-coloured engraved map, a few minor areas of loss skilfully repaired in facsimile.

  • Notes

    The signing of the Twelve Year Truce in 1609, by the Dutch Republic, the Southern Netherlands and Hapsburg Spain, proved a catalyst for another version of the Leo Belgicus.

    In around 1611, Claes Janszoon Visscher published his 'Bestandskaart' or 'Truce Map' - "one of the peaks of seventeenth century cartography" (van der Heijden) – a lion at rest in a sitting position, his right paw on the hilt of a lowered sword. The map is replete with allusions to the fruits of peace: to the right of the lion, war – personified by a knight in a full suit of armour – is shown asleep, and to the left personifications of North and South are shown seated together with 'd'Oude Twist' (the old rancour) buried unde foot. A cherub pours the sweet nectar of the 'Bestant van 12 jaer' (the Twelve Year Truce) into the mouth of the lion; the clouds part to allow heavenly blessings ('zeghen des hemels') to rain down upon the country. These include the arts and sciences ('Const en Wetenschap'); safety ('Vailighe Tijdt'); knowledge and wealth ('Kennisse en Rijkdom'); prosperous towns ('Vergrooten der Steden'); the cultivation of the land ('Vredich Lantbouwen'); and trade ('Coophandel'). Yet even in these peaceful times, the frontier guard ('Frontier Wacht') remains alert.

    Although the map celebrated the truce, it also implied – with the personification of north and south - the break-up of the Seventeen Provinces. This is further reenforced by the individual north and south medallions that can be seen suspended from the lion's sword.

  • Bibliography

    H.A.M. van der Heijden, Leo Belgicus: An illustrated and annotated cartobibliography, 2nd ed., (Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto, 2006), 5.2.