The Truce Map
By VISSCHER, Claes Jansz, 1611
Novissima et Accuratissima Leonis Belgici seu Septemdecim Regionum Descriptio. Auct: N.I. Visschero.
- Author: VISSCHER, Claes Jansz
- Publication place: Amsterdam
- Publisher: Claes Jansz Visscher
- Publication date: 1611–1621 or later
- Physical description: Hand-coloured engraved map, a few minor areas of loss skilfully repaired in facsimile.
- Dimensions: 470 by 580mm. (18.5 by 22.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 2691
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.
- H.A.M. van der Heijden, Leo Belgicus: An illustrated and annotated cartobibliography, 2nd ed., (Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto, 2006), 5.2.
- Heijden, H. (2006). Leo Belgicus: An illustrated and annotated carto-bibliography. Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto.