VAN DER KEERE, Pieter
Leo Belgicvs ... Arrificiosa & Geographica tabula sub Leonis figura a 17 inferioris Germaniae Provincias ...
Amsterdam: 1617. Engraved map, Latin text on verso. Wide margins. Image size (including text): 15 x 17 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 17 1/4 x 21 1/4 inches.
Among the most decorative maps of the Golden Age of mapmaking: the famous depiction of the Provinces of the Low Countries in the shape of a lion.
The Netherlands, depicted in the form of a lion originated with the Austrian mapmaker Michael von Aitzing (c. 1530-98), who inserted one in his book De Leone Belgico (1583). Various depictions followed, each with decorative variation reflecting in part political events. The present map, engraved by Hendrik Floris van Langren, is from Petri Kaerii Germania Inferior id est, XVII provinciarum ejus novae et exactae Tabulae Geographicae, cum Luculentis Singularum descriptionibus additis. À Petro Montano (Amsterdam, 1617). It is the third incarnation of the Aitzinger form of the Leo Belgicus: the lion rampant facing right, with the right paw raised. The text within the cartouche translates to read: "A skilfully made geographical map representing the XVII Provinces of the Netherlands in the form of a lion, showing also the coats-of-arms of the provinces, their boundaries and their governors, as defined and appointed by the supreme authorities in 1559". The present example is the second state of the map; the first state of circa 1609 being known in only three examples. "Michael Aitzinger's novel design was first printed in 1583 and was copied by many of the Low Countries engravers in various forms. Some versions are fabulously ornate, others more plain, but this is one of the most decorative forms" (Potter).
Van der Heijden 4.2; Potter, Antique Maps, p. 187.