The Most Influential Map of the Ottoman and Persian Empires Published in the 16th Century
First edition of Giacomo Gastaldi's important 2-sheet map of the region bounded by the Black Sea and Mediterranean in the West and Afghanistan and Central Asia in the East. Cyprus is prominently shown in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Meticulously compiled by Gastaldi from contemporary sources, the map is perhaps the single most influential map of the region published in the 16th Century. The map would serve as the pro-type for the region well into the early 17th Century.
Giacomo Gastaldi was the most celebrated Italian cartographer of the sixteenth century. He was also one of the first true professionals in that field. Unlike most contemporary cartographers who also served as publishers and/or engravers, Gastaldi specialized in the drafting and design of maps, only rarely becoming involved in the technical aspects of their commercial distribution.
As official cosmographer to the Venetian Republic, moreover, Gastaldi had access to the most up-to-date geographical information in compiling his maps, and many of them represent the most accurate renderings of their time. Such is the case with his landmark maps of Asia, which were printed as three separate but complementary "parts."
Gastaldi's map was later copied in a single sheet edition by Cornelis De Jode, Abraham Ortelius, and a number of other early map makers.
The map is very rare on the market. We note no separate examples are recorded at auction or in dealer catalogs for several decades.
Giacomo Gastaldi (1500-1566) is considered the foremost Italian cartographer of the sixteenth century, alongside Paolo Forlani. His skills of compilation are comparable to those of Mercator and Ortelius, yet much less is known of his life than of his two contemporaries. Gastaldi was born in Villafranca, Piedmont, but had established himself in Venice by 1539. He originally worked as an engineer, but turned to mapmaking from the 1540s onward.
It was in Venice where he made his reputation as an engraver, geographer, and cosmographer; for example, he was asked to fresco maps of Asia and Africa in the Palace of the Doge, or the Council of Ten, Venice’s governmental body. He also frequently consulted on projects for the Savi sopra la Laguna, drawing maps for this body which oversaw the regulation of fresh and salt water around Venice.
His contemporaries also recognized his skill, as he was named cosmographer to the Republic of Venice, was a member of the Accademia Veneziana, and was a major source for other geographers and mapmakers including Camocio, Bertelli, Cock, Luchini, and Ortelius. He even had his own distinct style of copper engraving that made him a pioneer in his day and makes his works iconic today.
Gastaldi enjoyed an especially productive relationship with Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Secretary of the Venetian Senate, who used Gastaldi's maps for his famous travel account collection, Navigationi et Viaggi. Gastaldi also tutored Ramusio's son in cosmography.