St. John’s College’s Mitchell Gallery Showcases Early Printed Maps

| February 23, 2013
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Anonymous Genoese portolan chart from c. 1325 ...

The revolutionary invention of printing in the 1450s made it possible to distribute consistent cartographic and geographic information. Advances in science and navigation, coupled with advances in reproduction through moveable type and the engraving process, launched a new view of Earth and its controversial place as an orbiting planet. “Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps 1472-1700,” on view from March 1 to April 13 at St. John’s College’s Mitchell Gallery, showcases 30 early printed maps from the Wendt Collection. As part of the opening reception, Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will lead a tour of the “First Printed Maps” exhibition followed by a hands-on workshop. Families are welcome to the opening reception, which will be held on March 3, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The maps on view in this exhibition reveal changing shifts in historical, religious, and cultural views of the world driven by the desire for accurate cartographic records. In addition, the maps portray Renaissance scholars’ earliest attempts to comprehend the nature of the solar system, the relationship of the planets, and the essential qualities of the Earth. By the early 1600s, with the development of the spherical projection and more precise mathematical calculations of space and distance, maps became more standardized. Many of the early techniques that were so successfully developed and applied to maps and mapmaking by 1700 continue in practice to this day.

“Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps 1472-1700” is organized and circulated by the Sonoma County Museum. The maps are from the collection of Henry and Holly Wendt. This exhibition is generously supported by the Helena Foundation.

For more information: www.stjohnscollege.edu

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