"Dominium Venetum in Italia" is a detailed cartographic work by Jan Jansson, circa 1640, presenting a richly engraved vision of the Venetian domain in Italy. The map showcases the Po River Valley, the Veneto, and extends as far east as Istria, Cherso (Cres) and Veglia (Krk), while venturing north to the Geyl (i.e., Gail) River.
The context in which this map was produced is worthy of note. During the 17th century, Amsterdam was a bustling hub of cartography and publishing. Among the city's luminaries, Jan Jansson stood out, producing a wealth of maps that displayed not just geographical precision but also a keen aesthetic sensibility. His "Dominium Venetum in Italia" offers a visual testament to this era of Dutch cartographic excellence.
On the map, geographical features are finely delineated with Jansson's characteristic attention to detail. Notably, the Po River Valley, along with its surrounding regions, is prominently depicted. The renowned city of Milano graces the far west of the map, which also includes the beautiful Lago di Garda. In the upper left corner, the coat of arms of Venice, the Lion of St. Mark, adds an emblematic touch, a proud symbol of Venice's storied heritage.
Further enhancing the historical significance of this map is the inclusion of several regions, as denoted by the ribbon held by putti at the top center. These place names, including Veronele, Feltrino, Vincentino, and others, provide an insight into the geopolitical structure of the Venetian domain during the period.
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.