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Claudius Ptolemy / Lienhart Holle:  [World]

Maps of the World

Title: [World]

Map Maker: Claudius Ptolemy /  Lienhart Holle

Place / Date: Ulm / 1482

Coloring: Hand Colored

Size: 22 x 16 inches

Condition: VG

Price: SOLD

Inventory ID: 48489


Rare first state of the Ulm Ptolemy map of the world, perhaps the most famous and highly sought of all fifteenth-century world maps and certainly the most decorative.

The Ulm edition of Ptolemy was first published in 1482 by Lienhart Holle. This is the first map of the world printed north of the Alps and the first to appear in color applied by the publisher. In contrast to the two previous illustrated editions—Bologna (1477) and Rome (1478)—the maps in the Ulm edition are wood block prints, not copperplate engravings. This is also the earliest world map signed by its engraver, Johanne Schnitzer. Schnitzer, also known as Johann the blockcutter, came from Armsheim, Germany. While this map is signed, others of his are not but can be identified by the backwards capital ‘N’ which he reverses in his woodcuts.

The maps in the Ulm edition follow the manuscript maps of Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, a Benedictine monk from Breslau who produced brilliant presentation copies for Italian elites in the 1460s and 1470s. Specifically, the Ulm was patterned after the manuscript atlas prepared for Pope Paul II.

While Ptolemaic was in construction, this world map includes more recent information in Scandinavia, based upon Claudius Clavius's map of 1427. Although the map does reflect some modern updates, such as the ‘mar glaciale’ bubbling out to the north of the map’s frame, the Portuguese discoveries in Africa are omitted. The map retains a closed Indian Ocean, with a land bridge or unknown Southern Continent connecting Asia and Africa. Twelve wind-heads ring the map, each of which is named.

The Ulm Ptolemy was the first book Holle published, but it was also to be one of his last. Holle went bankrupt shortly after the original publication. The work was then taken over by Johann Reger, who issued another edition in 1486. The brilliant blue of the 1482 maps, made from crushed lapis lazuli, was replaced by a brown color in the 1486, making the 1482 copies beautifully distinct.

Condition Description: Narrow margins, trimmed into the image at the top margin and left margin. Slight loss of neatline at right margin.

References: Shirley 10. James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota https://www.lib.umn.edu/apps/bell/map/PTO/TOUR/1482u.html.

Related Categories:
Maps of the World
Maps of the World

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