Maris Pacifici
21.5 in HIGH x 17.25 in WIDE
(54.61 cm HIGH x 43.81 cm WIDE)
Museum Purchase

Map. Description: Old engraved map by Abrahamus Ortelius; "Maris Pacifici"; 1589 Latin text; colored map From the History Information Station Object: Map. Maris Pacifici, dated 1589, engraved and colored by Abrahamus Ortelius in the Netherlands. This edition was published circa 1606. History: Abrahamus Ortelius (1527-1598) was a Flemish cartographer, or draughtsman who designs, compiles, and drafts maps. He began his career in the 1560s as a mapseller and colourist. Ortelius is best known for his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), the first modern atlas which contained 70 engraved maps. He was a scholarly craftsman and a businessman who produced attractive maps based on information derived from others. Although not actually a geographer, in 1573 Ortelius received from King Philip II of Spain the title of Geographer to the King. Museum Purchase Pictures of Places A map is a picture of how cartographers, or mapmakers, think the world looks. Early mapmaking combined artistic skill with scientific and mathematical knowledge. The first cartographers were handicapped by deficiencies both of knowledge and technique, such as poor surveying methods and instruments and nonstandardized units of measure. As information about the geography of newly-discovered lands was brought back to Europe, a more accurate model of the world began to take shape. Some maps and charts were hand drawn, and show the individual style of the draughtsman. Later, maps were engraved on metal plates and printed. Until the 19th century, maps were handcolored, or illuminated. Designs and ornate legends were used to embellish maps and make them attractive as well as instructive, and in many early maps, ignorance was often disguised by fancy. Maps were the tools of practical men, and suffered hard use; as new knowledge came to light, outdated maps were discarded. Those that survived, did so in the libraries of those who valued them for their beauty, history, and antiquity.
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