Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lions (To Be) Seen at the Walters Art Museum

Yes, once again, I could have been a museum curator. No more than an hour after my last post, I got an email from someone who saw it, telling me that the map with the lion is going to be in the Walters Art Museum Maps exhibit in a few weeks. He also sent me this from

The most famous of all cartographic curiosities is the 'Leo Belgicus', in which the Seventeen Provinces of the low Countries were depicted in the form of a lion. This type was first introduced by Michael Eitzinger (Aitzinger or van Aitzing) in 1583. The idea may have suggested to him by the presence of a lion in the arms of most of the Seventeen Provinces. Whatever his inspiration, the genre proved very popular, and a number of later publishers produced their own versions, some even introducing their own sub-type. One such group was the 'Leo Hollandicus', where the Seven United Provinces were depicted as a lion. Claes Jansz. Visscher was the first to publish such a map, as shown here. Visscher seems to have first published the map before 1625, the year in which the dedicatee Prince Maurice died. A second example was published dated 1633, while the third state was published in 1648, when the Spanish confirmed Dutch independence.”

And a big shout out to my anonymous buddy for letting me know. Don’t be a stranger.

1 comment:

Hugh Yeman said...

I just discovered the fascinating 'Leo Belgicus' maps recently, and I'm looking forward to seeing that one in Baltimore.

Speaking of "Maps: Finding Our Place in the World", I wanted to call your attention to the writing I've done on the Chicago version in my blog.

Here is the main entry on the Field Museum exhibit. The following represent deeper investigations into specific items.

Here is an investigation into Matthew Paris's Pilgrimage map from London to Apulia from 1252.

Here is an investigation into the symbolism in Nolli's "Grand Plan of Rome".

Here is an account of the different modes of representing mountains on maps seen in the Festival of Maps.

Here is my commentary on one of my favorite items, The van den Keere World Map of 1611.

Here I wax enthusiastic about another favorite: the Waghenaer coastal map from 1590. According to Will Noel, the curator of the Baltimore exhibit, this one won't be at Baltimore!

Here is a revision of my original Waghenaer entry.

Here is an analysis of some sixteenth century symbolism, including the vanitas on the van den Keere map.