How did maps of the distant reaches of the world communicate to the public in an era when exploration of those territories was still ongoing and knowledge about them remained incomplete? And why did Renaissance rulers frequently commission large-scale painted maps of those territories when they knew that they would soon be proven obsolete by newer, more accurate information? The Mapping of Power in Renaissance Italy addresses these questions by bridging the disciplines of art history and the histories of science, cartography, and geography to closely examine surviving Italian painted maps that were commissioned during a period better known for its printed maps and atlases. Challenging the belief that maps are strictly neutral or technical markers of geographic progress, this well-illustrated study investigates the symbolic and propagandistic dimensions of these painted maps as products of the competitive and ambitious European court culture that produced them.
Mark Rosen is Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas, Dallas. A specialist in the art and cartography of early modern Europe, he has published work in The Art Bulletin, Oud Holland, Nuncius, and the Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz. He was formerly a Fellow of the Medici Archive Project at the Archivio di Stato in Florence, and he has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kress Foundation.
1. A lost world: maps as decoration before the sixteenth century; 2. Wonders unknown to the ancients: maps as decoration in the early to mid sixteenth century; 3. The Medici Guardaroba and its role in the Florentine cosmos; 4. 'All the things of heaven and earth together': the Guardaroba program; 5. Manufacturing a universe: the Medici Guardaroba and its cosmographers; 6. The maps of the Medici Guardaroba; 7. The Guardaroba and the late cinquecento map-cycle competition; Appendix: the curriculum of Don Stefano Buonsignori.