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Superb Portrait of Two Cartographic Giants In Full, Vibrant Original Color

Portrait. HONDIUS, H. [Amsterdam, 1613]
Gerardus Mercator . . . Iudocus Hondius . . . 15 x17 ½ inches.
Superb original color; margins reinforced, very good overall.

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Arguably the finest engraved portrait of early mapmakers in rich period color. It appeared as the frontispiece in editions of the Mercator-Hondius atlas beginning in 1613, a year after the death of Jodocus Hondius. In the well-executed design, the more ascetic and scholarly Gerard Mercator and the ruddy merchant prince Jodocus Hondius are seated within an architectural cartouche of the kind frequently seen on the maps that both produced. They are depicted using, and surrounded by, the accoutrements of mapmaking and with a wall map of Europe in the background.

Mercator and Hondius are clearly portrayed here as equals. While Mercator’s standing as a great geographer has been long unquestioned, recent findings are bearing out Hondius’ important intellectual achievements along with his well-recognized engraving skill and prolific publishing.

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