• Ana Nunes

New paper from Sima Krtalic on the process of mapmaking

Sima Krtalic just published a paper entitled Anchoring the Image of the Sea: Copying Coastlines on Manuscript Nautical Charts from the Late Middle Ages on the Early Modern Period, on Imago Mundi.


Abstract

The birth of the nautical chart in the late medieval period is seen as a watershed moment in the history of cartography. So far, however, the artisanal practices that permitted the proliferation of sea charts have remained poorly understood and little evidence has been recovered from extant charts on which to base the production history of the surviving charts. This article describes a systematic exploration of the techniques employed in the copying of coastlines on manuscript charts between the fourteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Attention is drawn to the ways different processes shaped contemporary late-medieval and early-modern understanding of the Mediterranean and what the techniques may reveal of that thinking. By reframing the charts in terms of their characteristics as drawings and placing map making in the broader context of two-dimensional graphic art, and by making use of the ever-growing corpus of high-resolution digital reproductions, we gain new insights into the chartmakers’ changing approaches to the transmission of geographical information. At the same time, a number of directions for further research are opened up.



Simplified bay and cape shapes on manuscript nautical charts, with the landward side uppermost in all cases. (Author’s drawing)

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Caverio Planisphere
Caverio Planisphere

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Pietro Vesconte
Pietro Vesconte

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Ocean Atlantique
Ocean Atlantique

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