FINE, Oronce (1494-1555). Nova, Et Integra Universi Orbis Descriptio. Paris: Christianus Wechelus, 1541

$ 125,000.00

Single sheet, matted and framed (11 2/8 x 16 2/8 inches to the neat line; framed size 24 x 28 4/8 inches). Fine woodcut double-cordiform world map, the title within a ribbon banner along the top edge, Wechelis' imprint centre lower edge, showing the world in two hemispheres, the right being mostly "Terra Australis', 'recently discovered, but not yet explored' and South America, the left, Europe and North America, surrounded by an elaborate decorative border.

Provenance: The Goodyear Collection, purchased September 1984, their sale Rachel Davis Fine Arts, September 21st, 2013, lot 477.

First published the Paris edition of Huttich and Grynaeus' "Novus Orbis Regionum" in 1532, this the fourth impression from the same 1531 woodblock was issued in Pomponius Mela's "De Orbis Situ", Paris, 1541.

Oronce Fine's double-cordiform map of the world is remarkable for several reasons. It was the most superior rendering of the world to-date, originally accompanying Johann Huttich's and Simon Grynaeus' collection of accounts of voyages entitled "Novus Orbis Regionum". The book was first published in Basel but reprinted in Paris during 1532 by Christian Wechel with this accompanying map. It is thought that Wechel also sold copies of the map separately, as here. Another world map, "Typus Cosmographicus Universalis," rendered by Sebastian Munster and Hans Holbein in 1532, accompanied the Basel editions.

Geographically, Fine's map included the most advanced information available. The North American continent remains an extension of the Asian mainland much along the lines of the Contarini-Rosselli map of 1506 and Ruysch of 1507. However, the monumental discoveries made since the creation of these maps, which forever altering the coastlines, have also been included. Fine extended the eastern coast of North America southward beyond the discoveries of Gomes and Ayllon to a peninsular outline of Florida, which is named, and a reasonable depiction of the Gulf coast as described by Pineda in 1519. This is the earliest recognizable depiction of a continuous east coast of North America on a printed map.

The South American continent is also admirably depicted, incorporating discoveries by the Portugese and by Ferdinand Magellan. Central America contains numerous place names reflecting conquests and explorations. The isthmus of Darian is shown and named, as well as the "Mare magellanicum" (Pacific Ocean), one of the first uses of the navigator's name in such a context.

The west coast of Mexico, although continuous with Asia, is the earliest record on a printed map of the discoveries of Hernando Cortes."Terra Australis" (Australia) fills much of the right-hand (or southern) cordum and is marked as being 'recently discovered but not yet explored.' The north pole is indicated by four islands and the separate island of Greenland is named. A large promontory marked "Gaccalar" (supposedly Labrador) extends from North America into the Atlantic.

This highly detailed woodcut is surrounded by floral embellishments, two mermaids, two muscular cherubs, the French royal coat of arms and, at the head of the map, the title in a flowing banner. It's cartographic findings were hugely influential to the history of mapping and were followed by Gerard Mercator for his important world map of 1538, and for the copies by Antonio Salamanca (ca. 1550) and Antonio Lafreri (ca. 1564).

Oronce Fine was a French mathematician and cartographer. Born in Briançon, the son and grandson of physicians, he was educated in Paris (Collège de Navarre), and obtained a degree in medicine in 1522. In 1531, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Collège Royal (the present Collège de France), founded by Francis I of France, where he taught until his death. As well as being a fortifications expert (he worked on the fortifications of Milan), Fine was a noted astronomer and cartographer. He invented the cordiform or heart-shaped map, frequently utilized by other cartographers, such as Peter Apian and Gerardus Mercator. Oronce Fine's maps are particularly notable for his attempts to reconcile the discoveries in the New World with old medieval legends and information (derived from Ptolemy) regarding the Orient. H. Harrisse, The Discovery of North America (London & Paris, 1892) 197; A. E. Nordenskiold, Facsimile Atlas to the Early History of Cartography (Stockholm, 1889; reprinted 1973), 74 (note), 90, 106 and plate XLI(2); ibid., Periplus (Stockholm, 1897), 163; J. Sabin, A Dictionary of Books Relating to America (New York, 1868-1936; reprinted 1961-1962), 34101; The World Encompassed (Baltimore, 1952), 64; H. R. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest.

 

 

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