First state of Rossi's double hemisphere map of the world, based upon the work of Nicolas Sanson, the single most important French mapmaker of the 17th Century. His modernistic approach to cartography would redefine commercial cartography over the next 50 years and signal the beginning and end, of Dutch domination, of the commercial map trade.
Rossi published this scarce World Map in his Mercurio Geographico . . . , first published in 1674. In 1684, the map was revised. Most notably, a more complete and defined coastline for the unknown southern continent was included.
Giacomo Giovanni Rossi (1627-1691) was an Italian engraver and printer. He worked in Rome, the heir to an important printing business founded by his father, Giuseppe de Rossi (1570-1639). Giuseppe began the press in 1633 and Giovanni and his brother, Giandomenico (1619-1653) took it over upon his death. The brothers expanded the business and by the mid-seventeenth century it was the best-known printing house in Rome.
For his maps, Giovanni worked with Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola. They produced the Atlas Mercurio Geografico. The first edition is undated, but the second was issued in 1692, a year after Giovanni’s death. The maps were by Cantelli. The firm also published maps based on those of Nicolas Sanson.
Later, the business passed to Lorenzo Filippo (1682-?). By 1738, the firm was known as Calcografia Camerale, then, from 1870 to 1945, as the Regia Calcografica. Today, the firm is still in business and is called Calcografia Nazionale. It operates as a free museum and offers one of the best collections of prints and plates in the world.