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Frans Hals, Gerrit ter Borch, Pieter de Hooch, Jan Steen, Jacob Ochtervelt, Nicolaes Maes all introduced depictions of real maps which may have had symbolic or allegorical significance. Five show the Netherlands and its provinces and one the European continent.
By representing Delfshaven (at that time a Delft municipality), Delft cast itself as an important seaport and boasted the headquarters of the Hoogheemraadschap van Delftland, the commission that exercised power over all of the vital waterway system of the region.
However, it is not a map in the modern sense, rather, it is a hybrid of a map, an aerial photograph and theatre stage in which the whole town of Delft is seen from a bird's-eye view with buildings shown in isometric perspective.
The drawing's three-dimensional relief offers an unparalleled sensation of a real brick-and-mortar town in miniature and it is difficult not to be moved by it.
The demand for decorative maps was so insistent that map publishers had begun to reissue older, and in some cases, outdated ones.
Seventeenth-century catalogues employed the "suitable for framing" sales pitch adding that some could be customized with decorative additions. An extremely limited number of maps have survived in respects to the amount described in inventories, catalogues and other sources.
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The number of originals that survive from the sixteenth and seventeenth century is extremely low.