LUTZENBURGEN SIS DUCATUS VERISS. DESCRIPT. IACOBO SURHONIO MONTANO AUCTORE. Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598)
LUTZENBURGEN SIS DUCATUS VERISS. DESCRIPT. IACOBO SURHONIO MONTANO AUCTORE.
It is generally considered that Ortelius drafted the maps from original source material himself and in his catalogus auctorum tabularum he carefully recorded the names of the geographers and contributors to his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The plates were then engraved by Frans Hogenberg, the topographer and co-author of the multi-volume Civitates Orbis Terrarum.
The present map of Luxembourg was first published in the 1596 edition of the Theatrum. It bears the Imperial Privilege and was probably produced in the early 1600s. For instance, a Latin version of the atlas was released in 1603. With its stylized cartouche and figures reminiscent of Roman grottesche it is a remarkable testament to Ortelius’ abilities as a cartographer, as well as his aesthetic ideals. It should thus be mentioned that in his youth he frequently travelled to Central and Southern Europe and probably became acquainted with the Roman decorative style that this figurative composition seems to reflect.
Jean Surhon is recorded as the map’s author. However, the designation “auctore” is ambivalent and the mysterious Surhon was most likely the engraver of Ortelius’ design. He is known to have been the cartographer in only three cases and his maps of Namur, Vermandois, and Picardie have been published in the 1570 and 1579 editions of the Theatrum respectively.
Lutzenburgensis Ducatus is very well preserved and features an elaborate and vivid color scheme. It retains full margins.
The importance of Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) in the history of cartography is superlative. Starting his career as a colorist, he became not only the wealthiest citizen of Antwerp and Royal Geographer to the King of Spain; the monumental Theatrum Orbis Terrarum also established Ortelius as the creator of the first modern atlas and heir to Ptolemy whom he references in his display of some truly encyclopedic knowledge. Walter Ristow summarizes the mapmaker’s achievements as follows: “Publication of the Theatrum was a significant milestone in the evolution and development of cartography, for it established the atlas as the predominant cartographic publication format and set the stage for the atlas publishing industry which flourished in the Netherlands during the 17th century.”
Koeman, Cornelius: “Atlantes Neerlandici: Bibliography of terrestrial, maritime and celestial atlases and pilot books, published in the Netherlands up to 1880”, Amsterdam 1967-1985.
Ristow, Walter: “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum 1570-1970”, in: The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 27 (1970), pp. 316-331.
Van den Broecke, Marcel: “The significance of language: The texts on the verso of the maps in Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum”, in: Imago Mundi 60 (2008), pp. 202-210.