Urbano Monte's World Maps: Sources and Development

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Van Duzer, Chet
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cc-by (c) Edicions de la Universitat de Lleida, 2020
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This articles provides a window into late sixteenth-century map production by discussing the distinctive features, the use of sources, and the changes over time in the world maps of 1587, 1590, and c. 1604 by the Milanese nobleman Urbano Monte (1544-1613). His maps were the largest non-mural maps of the sixteenth century, laid out on a north polar projection, and designed to be rotated about their centerpoint so as to facilitate viewing of the details of the maps despite their large size. Although the maps’ size might suggest that they were intended for nobles, the cartographer’s desired audience was in fact students. The maps are compilations of both images and texts from a wide variety of contemporary maps and geographical treatises, the products of library research rather than interviews with explorers. Some of the changes he made from his 1587 to his 1590 map were motivated by horror vacui, the fear of leaving blank spaces on his map. His c. 1604 printed map, which only exists in Monte’s proof copy, is an unpublishable mess, as Monte changed the projection he was using but did not alter the geography of his map accordingly.
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Imago temporis: medium Aevum, 2020, núm. 14, p. 415-435