Mappa Mundi by Battista Agnese

Battista Agnese1536-1564

Fundación Elkano

Fundación Elkano
Getaria, Spain

Battista Agnese (c. 1500–64) was an Italian cartographer, born in Genoa. He worked in Venice between 1536 and 1564, and became one of the most significant figures in cartography of the Renaissance. He created approximately 100 handwritten atlases, of which more than 70 have been preserved, either with his signature or attributed to his school. His atlases, considered works of art for their beauty and high quality, are mostly portolan or nautical. They were printed on parchment for high-level officials or rich merchants.

This atlas from 1544 contains 15 full-page illustrated sheets, with detailed maps and geographical figures, in vivid colors, and decorated with cherubs in the clouds. Some of the maps are decorated with gold detail. The oval-shaped Mappa Mundi depicts cherubs, or wind heads, in the blue and gold clouds. They represent the 12 classical compass winds, which evolved into the modern cardinal directions. The most detailed maps show the full coastlines, ports, and rivers, and were used by sailors of the time. However, they do not generally depict features on land, other than towns and cities. The atlas includes an armillary sphere and a detailed drawing of an astrological chart.


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