Il Mappamondo di Fra Mauro Camaldolese descritto ed illustrato…. MAURO, D. Placido ZURLA.
Il Mappamondo di Fra Mauro Camaldolese descritto ed illustrato…
Il Mappamondo di Fra Mauro Camaldolese descritto ed illustrato…

Il Mappamondo di Fra Mauro Camaldolese descritto ed illustrato…
Il Mappamondo di Fra Mauro Camaldolese descritto ed illustrato…

Venice: 1806.

Folio, folding map, engraved plate; contemporary calf, spine in compartments with gilt bands.

The earliest substantial work on Fra Mauro's famous world map: the centrepiece of the 2013 Mapping our world exhibition

Fra Mauro's mappamundi (1457) is approximately two metres in diameter, was drawn on parchment and mounted on wood. It is full of detail, carefully coloured, and annotated with many legends. Though the coasts are drawn in a style recalling that of the portolan charts, the effect is definitely that of a mappamundi, not a nautical chart, especially as it is oriented with the south at the head. It is the most important of fifteenth-century maps, the last important pre-Columbian map of the world, and it represents the culmination of medieval cartography on the eve of the Renaissance. His delineation of Ethiopia, though unduly spread over a wide area, is wonderfully correct, and shows the Sinus Aethiopicus by which Henry the Navigator thought he could reach Ethiopia and so "Prester John." It is in his map that the greatest influence of the Marco Polo narratives is seen before printed editions began to be disseminated; he was able, by personal intercourse, to gather additional information from Nicolo de' Conti, who had returned from the east in 1440, and it is also of special interest in showing that, at least forty years before the Portuguese reached India, Arab sailing directions covering the east coast of Africa, India, and the seas beyond to the vicinity of Sumatra, were available in western Europe.

Fra Mauro's mappamundi (1457) is approximately two metres in diameter, was drawn on parchment and mounted on wood. It is full of detail, carefully coloured, and annotated with many legends. Though the coasts are drawn in a style recalling that of the portolan charts, the effect is definitely that of a mappamundi, not a nautical chart, especially as it is oriented with the south at the head. It is the most important of fifteenth-century maps, the last important pre-Columbian map of the world, and it represents the culmination of medieval cartography on the eve of the Renaissance. His delineation of Ethiopia, though unduly spread over a wide area, is wonderfully correct, and shows the Sinus Aethiopicus by which Henry the Navigator thought he could reach Ethiopia and so "Prester John." It is in his map that the greatest influence of the Marco Polo narratives is seen before printed editions began to be disseminated; he was able, by personal intercourse, to gather additional information from Nicolo de' Conti, who had returned from the east in 1440, and it is also of special interest in showing that, at least forty years before the Portuguese reached India, Arab sailing directions covering the east coast of Africa, India, and the seas beyond to the vicinity of Sumatra, were available in western Europe.
It 'uniquely fused the three predominant medieval map forms—the portolan chart, the mappamundi and the Ptolemaic atlas—with knowlegde drawn from the latest maritime exploration to create what was, in effect, a compendium of current knowledge about the world. It is both an authoritative cartographic source and a supremely imaginative and beautifully realised vision of the extent of the world in the pre-Columbian period' (Mapping our World). Very little is known about Fra Mauro (c. 1390-1459?) save that he was a lay member of the Camaldolese order at the monastery of San Michele di Murano near Venice and remained there all his life. He was celebrated after his death as as cosmographus incomparabilis, or cosmographer without peer.
Zurla's handsome work is the earliest on Fra Mauro's map and the first to include a reproduction of it in bookform. Placido Zurla (1769-1834) had a unique insight into Mauro's monumental achievement as at the age of 18 he had joined the same Camaldolese order as Fra Mauro and as Librarian, had access to Mauro's map. Fra Mauro's map was the centrepiece of the 2013 Mapping our world exhibition: the first time in over 5 centuries the map had left Venice. This is the indispensable first substantial reference work on this masterpiece.

Price (AUD): $4,250.00  other currencies     Ref: #4211252

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