Striking full color example of Jansson's scarce 2-sheet view of Cracow, from Jansson's rare town book Civitatus Orbis Terrarum.
Taken from Braun & Hogenberg's view of the same title, this spectacular view incorporates 6 coats of arms and depicts the thriving city of Cracow on the Vistula River. The view is one of the most elaborate of all views for this work. The view provides a fine contemporary depiction of Cracow and the neighboring towns of Kazimierz and Kleparz and smaller villages beyond.
Apart from the buildings, often depicted with great care of architectural detail, it also shows the network of roads, rivers, suburbian fields, gardens and broad pastures, as well as the details of everyday occupations of the inhabitants, such as raftsmen going on their raft down the Vistula River. In the foreground, a royal pageant is shown, with the king moving from Wawel Castle to his country residence in Lobzów.
The view includes a legend which names major landmarks, with an additional fifty described within the printed image. The latin names for the towns of Kleparz, Cracow and Kazimierz are set in banners above each town (Clepardia, Cracovia, Casimiria). Above Wawel, the royal residence, are (from the left) the Snake of the Sforzas, the Eagle and the Lithuanian "Chase".
Kazimierz was a Jewish town established for the Jewish community in Krakow by the Polish Kings. Furthermore, in this map there are three remarkable features found here for the first time.
First, underneath the banner on which is prominently featured CASIMIRIA, below and to the left reads "Oppidum Iudeorum" (Settlement of the Jews). This is the first map or view to note the Jewish district of Krakow.
Second, below the text referenced above, the text further notes "Porta Iudeorum" (Jew's Gate). Below that is a set of buildings which, when moving slowly to the right, come to an end at a steepled church in front of which is a red gabled building.
Third, below the Gate of the Jews, in the space between those buildings, are a set of red-roofed buildings that are on the shores of the river. Those buildings under the legend Porta Iudeorum have a wall in front of them, up against the steepled church, a building which still survives, the oldest extant synagogue building in Poland, whose origins date back to the fourteenth century, the building itself to the fifteenth century.
Jan Janssonius (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.
In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.
Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.