New York City.- An exhibition of antiquarian maps showing the territory of present-day Ukraine over the course of three centuries opened at The Ukrainian Museum in New York City’s East Village on April 20.
The Mapping of Ukraine: European Cartography and Maps of Early Modern Ukraine, 1550-1799, includes 42 original maps published over a 250-year period by such noted European mapmakers as Joan Blaeu, Nicolas Sanson d’Abbeville, Johann Baptist Homann, Sebastian Munster, Moses Pitt, Matthew Seutter, and Antonio Zatta. A majority of the maps in the exhibition are from the Museum’s Marie Halun Bloch Collection, which consists of 52 maps donated to the Museum by the estate of the Ukrainian American writer of children’s books following her death in 1998.
Dr. Bohdan Kordan, the curator of the exhibition, is Professor of International Relations and Chair of the Department of Political Studies, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. He has curated several map exhibitions, including Black Sea, Golden Steppes: Antiquarian Maps of the Black Sea Coast and the Steppes of Old Ukraine (Kenderdine Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, 2001); Land of the Cossacks: Antiquarian Maps of Ukraine (Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre, Winnipeg, 1987); and XVII & XVIII Century Maps of Ukraine (Ring House Gallery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1985).
The Mapping of Ukraine “provides a fascinating portrait of mapmaking in Europe,” says Olha Hnateyko, president of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, “particularly in relation to the territories of Ukraine.” Indeed, Dr. Kordan’s detailed descriptions assess each map both for its cartographic/artistic elements and for its historical narrative. The maps trace a critical period in Ukraine’s history – a period that includes the noted Cossack era – and establish the country’s place on the European continent.
“With his extensive knowledge of the subject matter,” notes Museum director Maria Shust, “Dr. Kordan was able to tell the story of these maps from the point of view of the evolution of modern cartography, placing it within the historical context of the development of modern states, with Ukraine as one of the pawns and sometimes players in the struggle among various powers for control of the Ukrainian territory.”
A fully illustrated, bilingual catalogue written by Dr. Kordan and with a preface by Dr. Frank Sysyn of the University of Alberta in Edmonton accompanies the exhibition.
To coincide with The Mapping of Ukraine, the Museum is presenting an exhibition of some of the major cultural achievements of the Cossack era. The Cossacks: Their Art and Style uses a variety of photographs, portraits, artifacts, and publications to focus on what has become known as the Cossack Baroque: a period of intense political, intellectual, and cultural growth manifested by societal stability, the expansion of educational institutions, architectural innovation, and a burgeoning of the arts.
Both The Mapping of Ukraine: European Cartography and Maps of Early Modern Ukraine, 1550-1799, and The Cossacks: Their Art and Style will be on view through October 5.