SEUTTER, Matthäus (1678-1757)
[The World and Continents - Five Maps]
Augsburg: circa 1730. Copper-engraved maps, with full original colour, Worlld map with losses to bottom margin, and with re-enforcements to the top and bottom margins. Americas map has been re-backed along bottom margin and part of the right margin, trimmed close to or within platemark on right and left sides. Asia map water-stained near bottom of centerfold, and mild discoloration along centrefold, bottom margin is re-backed with repaired losses. Africa map has a water stain on the left sideborder and into the image of the map around the Cape Verde Islands, and at the bottom margin. Bottom margin is re-backed, with repaired minor losses and tears. Europe map expertly re-backed, repaired tears and minor losses to centerfold and on either side of the centerfold. Discoloration and fading in places. Sheet size: each 20 3/4 x 23 1/8 inches.
Superb maps of the World and the Continents by one of the great eighteenth-century German cartographers.
George Matthäus Seutter learned the map publishing business as an apprentice to J. B. Homann of Nuremberg. In 1707, he moved to Augsburg where he established himself as Homann's main rival, becoming Geographer to the Imperial Court in 1715. Seutter copied many geographical details from his former protégé's maps, and the rival houses duelled with each other in order to see which one could best epitomise the southern German Baroque ethic, with its lavish decorative embellishments and iconography of Roman Catholic piety. The World Map entitled Diversi Globi Terr-Aquei Statione Variante... exemplifies the new world view of the eighteenth-century. Although the familiar twenty-four Classical windheads still adorn the image, in place of the traditional allegorical scenes, the map is really a collection of "scientific" perspectives of Earth. Around the large hemispheres of the Old and New Worlds, there are polar views, "oblique" views, and perspectives illustrating the sphericality of the Earth. The Earth is no longer a mysterious object, but is now quantifiable, progressively subject to the empirical gaze of mankind. The map of North and South America, Novus Orbis sive America Meridionalis et Septentrionalis..., features resplendent examples of Seutter's cartouches. The title cartouche is inhabited by specimens of exotic birds, flying fish, and a native chief shaded by an umbrella. Surrounding a descriptive note about the New World, in the upper left, Europeans are seated at a table while natives kneel and deposit riches before a crucifix surmounted by the Virgin Mary with the cross, a chalice and a book. The map shows California as an island, at the same time featuring many coastal sites including San Clemente and Santa Barbara. Asia cum omnibus Imperiis, Provinciis, Statibus et Insulis... shows the continent during the zenith of both the Mughal and Chinese Empire, the latter prominently featuring The Great Wall. The cartouches feature Asian princes, a Chinese scholar with a cup of tea, an elephant, a lion and a pair of warriors. The note to the Reader in the upper right, is a homily on the ultimate importance of eternal and spiritual values over the evanescent values of temporal riches. Africa iuxta navigationes et observationes recentissimas aucta et in sua Regna et Status divisa... is beautifully decorated with a large, ornate cartouche by Gottfried Rogg that features natives, pyramids, and indigenous animals such as a leopard, a lion and a crocodile. Faithful to the period, the map is full of interesting geographical speculations, revealing that Europeans actually knew very little about the regions of Africa not immediately on the coasts or the banks of major rivers. Seutter allows the Ptolemaic myth that the Nile is fed by two large lakes to persist. Europa Religionis Christianæ, Morum et Pacis ac Belli Artium Cultu Omnium Terrarum Orbis Partium Præstantiss... is the title of the Europe map. The cartouche avows the claims of the title: "[Christian Europe in all the World the most Accomplished in the Ways of Peace and War and Cultivation of the Arts]", as a chain of cherubs descend from the Godhead along with the symbols of Catholicism. A queen at the left of the title represents good government, and below Athena and Apollo represent war and the arts.
Tooley & Bricker, Landmarks of Mapmaking, p. 167-170.