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DANTE, Egnazio (1536-1586). Urbis veteris antiquae ditionis descriptio. Rome: 1583

DANTE, Egnazio (1536-1586). Urbis veteris antiquae ditionis descriptio. Rome: 1583 Engraved map of the region around Orvieto, from the Tiber to the sea, on a full Royal sheet 408 x 668mm. Dedication set in an architectural cartouche incorporating scalebar and surmounted in the broken pediment by the arms of the Monaldeschi, two armorial swashes each with four coats of arms at upper border, compass rose, decorative geometric border. (Trimmed to plate mark, unobtrusive staining, old vertical fold.) A VERY RARE AND FINELY ENGRAVED MAP OF THE ORVIETANO. Only two other copies known. Egnazio Dante, monk and later Bishop of Alatri and one of the most famous astronomers and cartographers of his time, taught at the University of Bologna. In 1580 he was appointed by Gregory XIII, Ugo Buoncompagni, as Papal Cartographer and made a member of the committee for the reform of the calendar. Among his works are the fresco maps in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (1563-75), the view of Perugia in the Palazzo del Governo in Bologna (1580) and the Italian Peninsula divided into forty frescos in the gallery of the Belvedere in the Vatican (1580-83). Dante was also a globemake and author. He made an enormous terrestial globe (1567) for the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, which gave the room for which it was made its name: 'La sala di mappamondo'. He published, amongst other works Trattato sull'uso e la fabbrica dell' astrolabio (Florence, 1569) and also in the same year Trattato sull' uso della Sfera. This map of Orvieto derives directly from Dante's frescos in the Vatican and is thought to be his last work. He dedicated it on the 9 April 1583 to Monaldo Monaldeschi, whose family had ruled Orvieto from 1334. The map includes the confluence of the Paglia and Tiber, Mount Amiata, Mount Argentario with its lagoon and the Spanish fortifications at Porto Ercole and Orbetello, the islands of Giglio and Giannutri, and the lake of Bolsena. The plate damage at the upper left corner can also be seen in the only other known copy, illustrated in Almagià MCV vol. 2 p. 15, who states that 'ne conosco soltanto un altro esemplare posseduto dalla Biblioteca Geografica Militare'; watermark similar to Bricquet 11939.


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