Item #5000430 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…
Il Mappamondo di Fra Mauro Camaldolese descritto ed illustrato…

Venice: 1806.

Folio, vignette portrait on title; with a large folding engraved map and another engraved plate; a fine copy in old calf-backed marbled boards.

The only substantial work on Fra Mauro's famous world map

The first substantial study and reproduction of Fra Mauro's famous world map: the last and the greatest medieval mappa mundi and still today a treasure of Venice. Placido Zurla's handsome work, produced very much in the style of Bodoni, was the earliest serious study of the map and the first reproduction of it in bookform.

The first substantial study and reproduction of Fra Mauro's famous world map: the last and the greatest medieval mappa mundi and still today a treasure of Venice. Placido Zurla's handsome work, produced very much in the style of Bodoni, was the earliest serious study of the map and the first reproduction of it in bookform.

Zurla (1769-1834) had a unique insight into Mauro's monumental achievement as he belonged to the same Camaldolese order where, as Librarian, he had access to the actual map itself. The superb - and very large - original map was the centrepiece of the 2013 Mapping our World exhibition at the National Library of Australia, the first time in over five centuries that the map had been allowed to leave Venice. (Its remarkable journey can be seen online: search "from venice fra mauro" at youtube.com, where there are several other videos about the map).

Five centuries after the great map's creation the site of the third American moon landing was named for its creator as the Fra Mauro Hills.

Fra Mauro was active as a professional cartographer in the monastic workshops on the Venetian island of Murano in the mid-fifteenth century. In 1457 he was commissioned by King Alfonso V of Portugal to produce a world map incorporating information about recent Portuguese discoveries. The map was finished in 1459 and despatched to Portugal, but was later lost. A medal struck at the time to commemorate Mauro's great achievement described him as "geographus incomparabilis".

The surviving map was discovered in the monastery at Murano and is now held in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice. Based on King Alfonso's map, it was probably made after Mauro's death in 1460 by his assistant Andrea Bianco from Mauro's sketches.

The map is nearly two metres in diameter and remarkably detailed. Apart from the unconventional orientation from south to north, it is testament to Mauro's knowledge and cartographic skill. Much of the information was based on the portolan charts used by mariners and on Ptolemy, whose Geographica had come to Italy during its Byzantine conquests and been translated into Latin. Mauro, however, occasionally disagrees with Ptolemy in instances where the portolan charts or reports from travellers prove him incorrect.

Despite the crowded appearance of the map, which gives equal prominence to accurately drawn geographical features and information based on hearsay, it is a truly exceptional document for the time accurately delineating many areas, such as the Caspian Sea, for the first time. It 'uniquely fused the three predominant medieval map forms—the portolan chart, the mappa mundi and the Ptolemaic atlas—with knowledge 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).

The last important pre-Columbian map of the world, it represents the end of Bible-based geography and the culmination of medieval cartography on the eve of the Renaissance.

Price (AUD): $4,850.00

US$3,126.64   Other currencies

Ref: #5000430