Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old Maps

I love old maps for their richness. They are usually very artistic and narrative instead of being purely technical like most maps today. On our way to the Sistine Chapel inside the Vatican Museum, we passed through the gorgeous Gallery of Maps. Besides the 40 large topographical maps of Italian regions, there are also several graphic maps depicting important cities. I was so excited to find three places I just visited -

The most noticeable one is the map of Venice at the end of the gallery. If you look closely, you will find captivating details of the Piazza San Marco.

The most noticeable one is a map of Ancona. I find it much less successful since the sail boats are too dominant whereas the city itself is hard to read.

The following one doesn’t show the name. My best guess is Lucca, judging primarily from the shape of the city wall. But I'm not sure about the pentagon at the bottom left corner.

I later found out that the maps in the gallery were commissioned in the late 1500s by Pope Gregory XIII. It took friar and geographer Ignazio Danti three years to paint. Although made 500 years ago with ancient instruments such as the Astrolabe, the maps are said to be amazingly accurate. I found an article discussing the accuracy of Danti's maps, very interesting:

1 comment:

Mark C said...

Nice link and beautiful art maps.
Welcome back and Happy Holidays.