Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Agri Cremonensis Typus

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Article ID EUI441
Artist Ortelius (1527-1598)
Abraham Ortelius, (1527 - 1598) Antwerp, comes from an Augsburg family and was born in Antwerp, Spain, where he lived throughout his life. After thorough training, he joined the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1547 as a card painter. In 1554 he took over an antiquarian bookshop that mainly deals with the coloring, distribution and publishing of maps. Basically he is more of a publisher than a scholar. And so he also made the acquaintance of another great man of his time, Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594), who encouraged him to draw cards and to make maps of the most varied of countries. His first cartographic work of his own is a large 8-sheet map of the world that appears in Antwerp in 1564. This is followed by a two-sheet map of Egypt (1565) and another of Asia (1567). The great achievement of Ortelius, who was one of the most famous European cartographers of his time, and the enthusiastic reception of his theater, mark a decisive turning point in the history of the world map. The new path is mapped out with the Theatrum. For the general view of the world, the appearance of Ortelius-Theatrum is important insofar as it emphatically confirms that America is a completely independent continent, which is also not connected to the Asian mainland mass at its northern tip. Ortelius was the first to come up with the idea of ​​producing a handy collection of reliable maps, all kept in the same format and only by the same author for each country. These sheets could also be bound into a book for easy storage and use. Mercator, who also realized the idea of ​​a world atlas from 1569, persuaded his friend to publish the famous Theatrum Orbis Terrarrum. Ortelius collected, traveled, corresponded and negotiated for 10 years before he could have his work printed in the best European printing house (Plantijn / Amsterdam). In addition to technical difficulties, Ortelius had to submit to the political / religious conditions, since maps were also subject to strict scrutiny during the Inquisition. Biblical scenes are pleasant, portraits of outstanding Catholics are welcome, but not family coats of arms or other emblems that could be politically suspect. On May 20, 1570, his first edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first collection of maps in book form, was published, financed and edited by Gillis Hooftman, an Antwerp merchant, banker and shipowner. Atlases did not yet have this name at that time. This collection was published between 1570 and 1612 in 42 editions and in 7 languages: Latin, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, English and Italian. Unlike his professional colleagues, he clearly referenced the sources of his maps and texts. The work contains, among other things, an illustration of the world known until 1492 and was therefore already looking back at the time the map was created.
Title Agri Cremonensis Typus
Year ca. 1580
Description map of the area around Cremona, with an inset map of Crema.
In ancient times, in northern Italy, unlike in southern Italy, there was hardly any Greek colonization. For the Roman Empire, Northern Italy was initially Gallia cisalpina. Since the Middle Ages, northern Italy has been characterized by remarkable trading cities, which, starting from the Veronese Confederation, united in the Lombardenbund against Emperor Barbarossa. At that time, some basics of business administration and banking, such as double-entry bookkeeping, were created in northern Italy. In pre-Roman centuries it was inhabited by different peoples among whom the Ligures, the ancient Veneti, who prospered through their trade in amber and breeding of horses, the Etruscans, who colonized Northern Italy from Tuscany, founded the city of Bologna and spread the use of writing; later, starting from the 5th century BC, the area was invaded by Celtic – Gallic tribes. These people founded several cities like Turin and Milan and extended their rule from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. Their development was halted by the Roman expansion in the Po Valley from the 3rd century BC onwards. After centuries of struggle, in 194 BC the entire area of what is now Northern Italy became a Roman province with the name of Gallia Cisalpina ("Gaul on the inner side (with respect to Rome) of the Alps"). The Roman culture and language overwhelmed the former civilization in the following years, and Northern Italy became one of the most developed and rich areas of the western half of the empire with the construction of a wide array of roads and the development of agriculture and trade. After the fall of the Western Empire, Northern Italy suffered heavily from destruction brought about by migration from Germanic peoples and from the Gothic War. In the 10th century Northern Italy was formally under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire but was in fact divided in a multiplicity of small, autonomous city-states, the medieval communes and maritime republic. The 11th century marked a significant boom in Northern Italy's economy, due to improved trading and agricultural innovations, culture flourished as well with many universities founded, among them the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe. In the end a balance of power was reached in 1454 with the Peace of Lodi and Northern Italy ended up divided between a small number of regional states, the most powerful were the Duchies of Savoy, Milan, Mantua, Ferrara and the Republics of Genoa and Venice, which had begun to extend its influence in the mainland from the 14th century onwards. In the 15th century Northern Italy became one of the centres of the Renaissance whose culture and works of art were highly regarded. After the French Revolution in the late 18th century Northern Italy was conquered by the French armies, many client republics were created by Napoleon and in 1805 a new Kingdom of Italy, made of all of Northern Italy but Piedmont that was annexed to France, was established with Milan as capital and Napoleon as head of state. In the congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Sardinia was restored, and furthermore enlarged by annexing the Republic of Genoa to strengthen it as a barrier against France. The rest of Northern Italy was under Austrian rule, either direct like in the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom or indirect like in the Duchies of Parma and Modena. Bologna and Romagna were given to the Papal State.
Place of Publication Antwerp
Dimensions (cm)34 x 50
ConditionVery good
Coloringcolored
TechniqueCopper print

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