Сartographic rarity in the museum Collection exposition

Today, on the Day of National Unity - one of the youngest Russian holidays, we invite you to get acquainted with one of the remarkable items in the museum Collection exposition – “Russian Atlas consisting of forty-three maps and dividing the Empire into forty-one governorates”, that is deservedly considered one of the masterpieces of Russian cartography.

While examining the maps of the 17th-18th centuries we perceive the close connection between science and art. Scientific images of the earth's surface were supplemented by a variety of graphic elements (for example, mythological or allegorical characters) or a cartouche - a curly frame with garlands of flowers, leaves, fruits surrounding it, military trophies or genre scenes, often carrying a semantic implication, sometimes the text was in the frame as well.

A perfect example of such combination of science and art is “The Russian Atlas of forty-three maps consisting of and divided by forty-one province of the Empire” (1800). Every map in it is decorated with a meaningful cartouche that characterizes the represented territory in economic, political and historical aspects. According to researchers, the author of the cartouches’ content could be the compiler of the Atlas, Russian mathematician, geographer and cartographer A.M. Wilbrecht (1757-1823), and the author of the images was professor of historical painting at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts I.F. Tupilev (1758-1821).

For the today's holiday, we have prepared a photo album with the images of the Atlas sheets in full, with the maps' titles.

Moments of history, political interests, level of scientific knowledge and visualization of the universe were intertwined in maps. Engraved by the eminent artists and published by well-known publishing firms, they can tell a lot about ancient time and its perception.