Abrahami Patriarchae Peregrinatio et Vita


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(HOLY LAND) ORTELIUS, Abraham. Abrahami Patriarchae Peregrinatio et Vita. Abrahamo Ortelio Antverpiano auctore. [Antwerp: Balthasar Moretus (Officina Plantiniana), 1624]. Folio, single laid sheet divided and pieced back together (plate mark 18 by 14 inches), window-framed (entire piece measures 24 by 20 inches).

Hand-colored 1624 impression of Ortelius’ earliest copperplate of the “Wanderings and Life of the Patriarch Abraham,” with 22 biographical border medallions designed by Maarten de Vos. Extracted from the 1624 Latin edition of Ortelius’ famous Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the world.

“The Wanderings of Abraham is among the most elaborate of Ortelius’ compositions. It demonstrates his combined skills as a cartographer and an artist, and his accomplishment as an historian… The delineation follows closely the 1570 map of Tilleman Stella, the first map of the Holy Land to be included in an Ortelius atlas. Territorial divisions, however, are taken from the story of Abraham in Genesis. Ancient tribal names are preserved… The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah still thrive along the southern Jordan in the ‘Valley of the Forest of Salt,’ which was to become the Dead Sea. An inset shows the stages in the wanderings of Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees, in the lower Euphrates Valley, to Shechem, Bethel, Damascus, Egypt, and Hebron” (Nebenzahl). Several other cities are named, Salem (later Jerusalem) being the most prominent. The decorative border contains 22 medallions depicting scenes from the life of Abraham, including his sacrifice of Isaac. Ortelius used both Ptolemy and the Bible as sources for his map, and commissioned leading Antwerp painter Maarten de Vos to make drawings for the medallions. This map is an acknowledged masterpiece of composition and engraving by one of the great Flemish cartographers. Latin text on verso. Two very different plates were in use simultaneously when the map was first added to the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in 1590. Originally published in 1586, this is the earlier copperplate, with the background hatching running from lower left to upper right, whereas the later plate (circa 1592) has the hatching from upper left to lower right. This is the second state of the earlier plate (with changes made to all of the medallions: e.g. in the top right-hand corner medallion, the inner part of tent which used to have oblique hatching now has a pattern of small squares). It was one of 1,000 copies made for the 1624 Latin edition, with textual points on the verso as follows: signature mark “iiij”; first text page, second column, last line reads: “illi Dominus in planitie Mambre, cùm ad ianuam/taber-”; second text page, second column, last line reads: “Domini erat conspiciendus.” Van den Broecke, Ort 182. Nebenzahl 34. Shirley I, 780-81.

Only a few stray spots of foxing to the bottom margin. A fine impression.

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