1 April 2014
PTOLEMY, Claudius (2nd century). World map. "Insculptum est per Johanne Schnitzer de Artmszheim." Ulm: Lienhart Holle, 16 July 1482.
Woodcut map of the world, FINELY COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND, image 402 x 558 mm (420 x 581 mm sheet), woodcut inscriptions, the world map surrounded by 12 wind heads. (Very minor rubbing to pigment along fold.) Matted, framed, and glazed.
FIRST EDITION, FINELY COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND the first woodcut version of a Ptolemaic world map and the first to be made outside Italy, based on a manuscript of Donnus Nicolaus Germanus of the 1470's. This is also the first printed map to be signed by the artist. The map is FINELY COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND especially the vibrant rich blue used to color the seas and oceans. Mountains are colored in brown, islands in green, red and yellow, the wind heads yellow and red on a light blue ground, tropics and equator in red, surrounded by a yellow borders. The woodcut is signed by Johannes Schnitzer of Armsheim who is also known for his woodcut book Buch der Weisheit der alten Weisen, 1483. "The bold Germanic style and the gothic lettering have a distinctive decorative appeal, especially when combined with rich colouring" (Shirley).
"This Ptolemy has always been sought by bibliophiles because of the bold decorative quality of the maps, the handsome typography and fine woodcut borders and initials" (The World Encompassed). Geographically, the Ulm Ptolemy "ventures to represent some features which update the Ptolemaic world picture and which were very probably based on a manuscript of Donnus Nicolaus Germanus of the 1470s" (Shirley). The map shows Scandinavia and Greenland for the first time in a Ptolemaic world map. Campbell The Earliest Printed Maps D43; Nebenzahl Atlas of Columbus and The Great Discoveries 1; Shirley, 10; The World Encompassed 37.
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