16th Century Maps, 19th Century Maps, Engraving, Maps, Portraits, Prints, World Maps

Happy 503rd Birthday to Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator

Happy 503rd Birthday to Gerardus Mercator. A cartographer, mathematician, philosopher, inventor, engraver, and teacher, Mercator was a man whose eponymous cartographic projection forever changed how mariners navigate their ships and how we see the world. He was also the first person to call a collection of maps an atlas. Cheers to a great man and an even greater mind.

VIA LINK.

Image via LINK.

Below are world maps based on Mercator’s Projection. All the meridians intersect with lines of latitude at 90 degree angles. Alone, this would still skew a line of bearing. To combat this, Mercator proportionally increased the distance between the parallels, so he could match the rate of angular distortion. This projection was widely used for navigation charts during the age of exploration, as any straight line on a Mercator-projection map is a line of constant true bearing that enables a navigator to plot a straight-line course, without having to continuously recalculate his course.

A New Chart of the World on Mercator's Projection with the Tracts of the Most Celebrated & Recent Navigators. By Henry Teesdale.  Handcolored engraving,1844.

A New Chart of the World on Mercator’s Projection with the Tracts of the Most Celebrated & Recent Navigators. By Henry Teesdale. Handcolored engraving,1844.

Colton's Illustrated & Embellished Steel Plate Map of the World on Mercator's Projection, compiled from the latest & most authentic sources.  By D. Griffing Johnson. Steel plate engraving, 1848-53.

Colton’s Illustrated & Embellished Steel Plate Map of the World on Mercator’s Projection, compiled from the latest & most authentic sources. By D. Griffing Johnson. Steel plate engraving, 1848-53.

Mappemonde Physique sur la Projection de Mercator. By Adrien Hubert Brue.  Engraving, 1821.

Mappemonde Physique sur la Projection de Mercator. By Adrien Hubert Brue. Engraving, 1821.

Map of the World on Mercators Projection. By John Atwood. Engraving, 1841-45.

Map of the World on Mercator’s Projection. By John Atwood. Engraving, 1841-45.

Gilbert's Map of the World, on Mercator's Projection. By James Gilbert. Segmented case map, engraving, 1841.

Gilbert’s Map of the World, on Mercator’s Projection. By James Gilbert. Segmented case map, engraving, 1841.

 

 

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18th Century Maps, American Maps, Copperplate, Engraving, Maps

Zurner map of America

Americae tam Septentrionalis quam Meridionalis in Mappa Geographica Delineatio ... Opera A.F. Zurneri ... Ex Officina Petri Schenkii in Platea vulgo de Warmoes Straat sub Signo N Visschers Athlas.  (Double click for higher resolution).

Americae tam Septentrionalis quam Meridionalis in Mappa Geographica Delineatio … Opera A.F. Zurneri … Ex Officina Petri Schenkii in Platea vulgo de Warmoes Straat sub Signo N Visschers Athlas. (Double click for higher resolution).

Americae tam Septentrionalis quam Meridionalis in Mappa Geographica Delineatio … Opera A.F. Zurneri … Ex Officina Petri Schenkii in Platea vulgo de Warmoes Straat sub Signo N Visschers Athlas
By Adam Friedrich Zurner
Published by Pieter Schenk, Amsterdam
Copper plate engraving, c.1710.
Image size 19 3/4 x 22 3/4″ (500 x 579 mm) plus margins.
Good condition save for a small professionally repaired tear in central portion of map. Original hand coloring.

This map, by Adam Friedrich Zurner (1679-1742), is a compilation of the most up-to-date information about America at the time of printing, combined with older cartographic myths. The main body of North America reflects newly corrected information, including De L’Isle’s treatment of the Mississippi River Valley and the Rio Grande River properly flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Detail of California as an island.

Detail of California as an island. (Double click for higher resolution).

In depicting California as an island, Zurner uses the second Sanson model, but makes the Northeastern part of the Island very tentative in nature, clearly aware that other map makers have abandoned the myth of the island of California.

Detail of Terra Esonis Incognita

Detail of Terra Esonis Incognita. (Double click for resolution).

The map also shows a massive Terra Esonis Incognita, a vestige of the prior century, when popular (mythical) cartography showed a near continuous land bridge from the Straits of Anian to Asia.

Detail of title cartouche

Detail of title cartouche. (Double click for higher resolution).

The map is embellished with two allegorical cartouches. The title cartouche is shown as being drawn on an animal skin pelt, held aloft by two Native Americans. A complex vignette in the lower right depicts European traders seated around a table, on the table cloth is written “Nun Konen Wirs alle.” Behind and to the right are natives worshiping at a temple and in the far background a battle between Natives armed with bow and arrows positioned against Europeans with rifles. On a pedestal stands a Native woman with full feather headdress holding quill of arrows. Written on the pedestal in Latin are stories of the explorations of Columbus and Catholic missionaries.

Detail of the lower cartouche

Detail of the lower cartouche. (Double click for higher resolution).

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American Maps, Contemporary Maps, Gallery Openings, Maps

Nikolas Schiller- Renegade Cartography

  

Part renegade cartographer, part D.C. political activist, Nikolas Schiller has a proclivity for creating maps of the D.C area. Based on aerial photography and satellite images from the United States Geological Survey , and then edited on his computer to create mirrored repetition, Schiller’s maps blur the line between reality and fantasy. Seen from afar, his maps look like psychedelic quilts. But upon closer inspections, one starts to see famous D.C. landmarks, roads, and waterways. These altered maps  highlight and celebrate the District’s grid system, established in early city plans by L’Enfant in 1791.

The Old Print Gallery was lucky enough to host both an artist talk and gallery show by Schiller on October 15th, 2010. For the exhibition, Schiller created three new limited edition maps of the Georgetown. Using what he dubs as “orthorectified aerial photography”, Schiller’s quilt-like maps focused on three Georgetown areas- Rock Creek Park(east), The Old Print Gallery(center), and the Key Bridge(west).  His map Georgetown Quilt- Center features 8 lines of symmetry, radiating from the center, The Old Print Gallery. He uses the term Octagon Quilt Projection to explain this map. He uses the term Hexagon Quilt Projection to describe his other two maps, the Georgetown Quilt- East and Georgetown Quilt- West, which feature 6 lines of symmetry radiating from the center instead of 8. And while your eye dances frantically across the map’s surface, and your brain tries to make sense of it all, you can’t deny the intrinsic beauty found in these geometric abstractions. Moreover, these maps are just plain fun- try searching for the improbably- shaped buildings, your house, or for your current location, so you can figure out how you would navigate in the fantastical maze of streets his map has created.

But beyond the fun, in our current era of satellite imagery, Google maps and street view, and hyper surveillance, Schiller’s art does make a political statement. For Bush’s second inauguration, Schiller created a map of the procession route, with areas of access points and webcams marked, which was then used by protestors. And on a more recent post to his blog, The Daily Render, Schiller shared a map titled Watergate Quilt, where he had recolored the Potomac River from its normal blueish grey to a bold, inky black- a nod to the Watergate’s neighbor, the Saudi Arabian Embassy and its country’s substantial oil reserves. The GWU grad also made an interactive Google map of the U.S. Capitol, with 51 “no taxation without representation” flags, to encourage rights for what he calls “America’s last continental colony”.

Beautifully original and theoretically substantial, Schiller’s kaleidoscopic maps take cartography to a new level. The once artful medium, which had devolved into an all information, no frills piece of paper, seems to have had a revival with Nikolas’s work.

To view and purchase Schiller’s work, please click on the link below:

Old Print Gallery- Nikolas Schiller Works

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