Saturday, April 11, 2020

Au cœur des cartes – Nautical atlas

Dated from the end of the 13th century, the so-called "Pisane" chart is considered to be the oldest nautical chart that has ever come down to us.
It mainly represents the Mediterranean Sea, where the Spanish and French coasts and the large islands are shown with relative fidelity.
It is part of the charts called "portulans", whose main attributes are: names of ports and harbours inscribed perpendicular to the coast lines, wind lines indicating compass directions, distance scales.
Appearing in the ports of the western Mediterranean, these nautical charts were an essential tool for the control of the seas and the dissemination of the results of European explorations from the 15th century onwards.
see Gallica

The Catalan Atlas is a collection of illuminated maps, bound like a book. Intended for the King of France, it gave him a picture of the entire known world in his time.
Ancient legends and the "wonders" of faraway Asia are mixed with geographical, political and economic information on these maps, which are based on medieval tales, such as Marco Polo's Devisement of the World.
see Gallica

This map of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea is drawn on a single sheet of parchment.
At the place of the neck of the animal that provided the skin is the date, 1447, and the signature of the artist, Gabriel de Vallseca, a representative of the Catalan cartographic school that produced many ornamental marine maps from the 14th century onwards.
The space represented on it is narrowed around the Mediterranean.
The coastline is finely drawn from Gibraltar to Syria, and nine cities from the West and East are shown as bird's-eye views.
Map kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Maps and Plans Department, GE C-4607 (RES)
View the document in the Gallica Digital Library:

see Gallica

The author of this atlas, Grazioso Benincasa, a former ship's captain, signed a large number of atlases and maps made in Venice and Rome in the second half of the 15th century.
These maps represent the Mediterranean and Black Seas, but also the coasts and islands of the Atlantic Ocean, from England to the shores of Africa, recently explored by the Portuguese. 
see Gallica 

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