This double portrait depicts two renowned sixteenth-century cartographers, Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius. Created shortly after Hondius' death in 1612, the engraving was made by his widow Colette.
Gerard Mercator is famous for introducing a revolutionary cartographic projection, which he showcased on his 1569 world map. This projection is still used today in nautical charts. In his later years, Mercator worked on an atlas, which was published posthumously by his family in 1595 under the title "Atlas Sive Cosmographicae Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati Figura." However, the publication did not receive much public enthusiasm, leading to financial difficulties for Mercator's family. They were compelled to sell his library and the copper plates used to print the maps in the atlas. Jodocus Hondius purchased these assets and played a pivotal role in restoring Mercator's reputation. In his edition of the atlas, Hondius added 36 more maps, including significant contributions such as Spain and Portugal. While many of these maps were Hondius' own creations, he acknowledged Mercator's contributions and presented himself as the publisher. Hondius passed away at the young age of 48, and his widow and sons, who were skilled engravers themselves, took over his publishing work.
The present image serves as the frontispiece in the 1613 edition of the "Atlas sive Cosmographicae Meditationes," which continued to be published by Hondius' family until 1641. It was engraved by Colette, his widow, as a tribute to her late husband. The portrait depicts Hondius seated next to Mercator, symbolizing their equal standing, even though they never met in person. The two men are shown examining globes and consulting reference books, surrounded by the tools of their trade. A large wall map of Europe hangs behind them, suspended from an ornate cartouche that frames the scene. The cartouche is adorned with globes, scrolls, cross-staffs, and an impressive golden armillary sphere, reflecting the style commonly found in their own works. Colette herself passed away shortly after completing this engraving, but the image continued to be reissued for many decades and is widely regarded as one of the finest illustrations of the early cartographers.
|Title||Gerardus Mercator natus Rupelmundae ... Iudocus Hondius natus in pago Flandriae|
|Publisher, Year||Henricus Hondius, Amsterdam, 1628|
|Plate Size||38.1 x 44.1 cm (15.0 x 17.4 inches)|
|Sheet Size||47.7 x 56.7 cm (18.8 x 22.3 inches)|
|Reference||Crane, N.: Mercator: The Man who Mapped the Planet|
If you like to download the image of this map with a resolution of 1200 pixels, please follow the link below.
You can use this image for publication on your personal or commercial websites for free if you set a link to this website. If you need photographs with a higher resolution, please contact us.