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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Map of the Day: Il Disegno Del Discoperto Della Nova Franza. Forlani, Paolo (FL. 1560-1571)

 Copper-plate engraving
Dimensions: 10 1/2" x 15 3/4"
The modest dimensions of Paolo Forlani's rare and finely engraved map of North America belie its signal importance in the history of New World cartography. It is the earliest printed map devoted solely to North America, the first to portray that landmass as a separate continent and the first to show the so-called Strait of Anian separating America from Asia at the approximate location of the Bering Strait (in a purely coincidental instance of early geographical myth dovetailing with the discoveries of later exploration).

Forlani based his rendering largely on the western part of a world map published by his colleague, the great Venetian cartographer Giacomo Gastaldi, several years before. Gastaldi had been the first to formulate the concept of the Strait of Anian, a name that probably originated with Ania, a Chinese province mentioned in a 1559 edition of Marco Polo's travels. Forlani's early graphic depiction of Gastaldi's mistaken theory, which persisted well into the eighteenth century, makes this map a cornerstone work in the mapping of America.

In the early 1560s, Forlani also published a map of South America and the West Indies, La descrittione de tutto il Peru (see above, no. 57), and with this 1565 map of North America he completed his coverage of the New World. The map stretches from Greenland down the coast of Canada and the Atlantic Seaboard to the West Indies, including a corner of South America, and from the coast of China in the west to the Azores and Cape Verde in the east. Until fairly recently, the map was attributed to Venetian publisher Bolognino Zaltieri, whose name and imprint appear on the second state, published in 1566. As David Woodward has demonstrated, however, authorship should be ascribed to Forlani, who sold some copperplates - including, presumably, the one used to print this map - to Zaltieri sometime around late 1565 or early 1566. Zaltieri then altered the plate, adding his own name, and proceeded to issue his own examples of the map, in a practice of appropriation (or licit plagiarism) that was quite common in the fluid world of Venetian map publishing.

This is an extremely rare example of this fascinating map, a landmark in the history of the mapping of America, here in outstanding condition.

90% of the examples of this map come with clipped margins.  The example offered here has full, original margins that measure over THREE inches on all four sides.  Owning maps of THIS level of quality is what map collecting is ALL about.  An example without full margins or margins that have been extended is worth 50% to 75% less.  If you are looking at an other example to buy, ASK if the margins have been extended.  Look to see by holding the map up to the light.   

Owning works of art that are in the condition that they were ORIGINALLY in plus normal aging and oxidation of the iron in the ink and copper in the green is the absolute definition of ORIGINAL condition.  Anything that is different from that definition is LESS valuable and not as desirable.

Original condition has been my passion for over 40 years.  What you get here is true.  And it is not stolen.  We will give you full provenance on request.   

Because of this hard earned reputation, my artworks, maps and books constantly do much, much better when resale is desired.

Offered at $345,000

We intend to have the lowest prices on ABE, Alibris, Biblio, AE, and Artnet while maintaining the highest levels of quality in the business for every offering. To inquire or view the complete offering, please contact our curators at info@aradernyc.com or call our 72nd Street NYC gallery at (212) 628-3668. 

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