Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Partie meridionale du Piemont du Monferrat par Guillaume de L´Isle de l´Academie R. des Siences

  • Translation

Article ID EUI2646
Artist Dezauche/de l´Isle, (1780-1838)
Jean-Claude Dezauche (1780-1838) was the successor to Guillaume De L'Isle and Philipe Buache. Guillaume De L´isle (1675- 1726) Paris, was a French cartographer known for his popular and accurate maps of Europe and the newly explored Americas and Africa. De L´isle was admitted into the French Académie Royale des Sciences, an institution financed by the French state. After that date, he signed his maps with the title of “Géographe de l’Académie”. Five years later, he moved to the Quai de l’Horloge in Paris, a true publishing hub where his business prospered. De L´isle’s ascension through the ranks culminated in 1718 when he received the title of Premier Géographe du Roi. His new office consisted in teaching geography to the Dauphin, King Louis XIV’s son, a task for which he received a salary. De L´sle’s reputation as a man of science probably helped .This supports the claim of the historian Mary Sponberg Pedley, who says “once authority was established, a geographer’s name might retain enough value to support two or three generations of mapmakers”. In De L´isle’s case, it could be said that his accomplishments surpassed his father’s. Up to that point, he had drawn maps not only of European countries, such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, and regions such as the Duchy of Burgundy, but he had also contributed to the empire’s claims to recently explored continents of Africa and the Americas. Like many cartographers of these days, De L´isle did not travel with the explorers and elaborated the maps mostly in his office. The quality of his maps depended on a solid network that would provide him first-hand information. Given the family’s reputation and his own, De L´isle had access to fairly recent accounts of travellers who were coming back from the New World, which gave him an advantage over his competitors. Being a member of the Académie, he was also aware of recent discoveries, especially in astronomy and measurement. When he could not confirm the accuracy of his source, he would indicate it clearly on his maps. For instance, his Carte de la Louisiane shows a river that the baron of Lahontan claimed he discovered, but no one else could validate it, so Delisle warned the viewer that its actual existence was in doubt. De L´isle 's search for exactitude and intellectual honesty entangled him in a legal dispute in 1700 with Jean-Baptiste Nolin, a fellow cartographer. Noticing Nolin had used details that were considered original from his Map of the World, De L´isle dragged Nolin in court to prove his plagiarism. In the end, Delisle managed to convince the jury of scientists that Nolin only knew the old methods of cartography and therefore that he had stolen the information from his manuscript. Nolin's maps were confiscated and he was forced to pay the court costs.The scientificity of the work produced by the De L´isle family contrasted with the workshop of Sanson. While Sanson knowingly published outdated facts and mistakes, De L´isle strived to present up-to-date knowledge.
Title Partie meridionale du Piemont du Monferrat par Guillaume de L´Isle de l´Academie R. des Siences
Year ca. 1750
Description Map shows north- west Italy with Piemont and on inset map Nizza
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 Paris
Dimensions (cm)49 x 64
ConditionVery good
Coloringoriginal colored
TechniqueCopper print

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