The Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem of the Austrian National Library
The Atlas Blaeu - Van der Hem is the finest contemporary collection of maps, charts, topographical prints and drawings handed down to us from the seventeenth century. Completely intact and presently housed in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, the atlas is one of the most interesting and precious pieces of national and international heritage, and is the result of a lifetime of meticulous collecting and careful preservation over the centuries. The atlas consists of 46 volumes with over 2400 maps, charts, drawings and views of towns, buildings and harbours, seascapes and landscapes and is an expanded version of Joan Blaeu’s Atlas Maior or Great Atlas, published in Amsterdam between 1660 and 1663. Altogether, the atlas provides a pictorial encyclopaedia of the contemporary knowledge and ranges from geography and topography to warfare and politics. Works by some of the most famous artists of that time are included in the atlas. All drawings and prints are accurately adapted to adhere to the format and purpose of the atlas to form a consistent collection with the maps, charts and texts. Many of the drawings were specifically commissioned by Laurens van der Hem to enrich and complete his atlas and to create a personal image of the world.