Catalog Archive
Auction 156, Lot 413

Extremely Rare Italian Edition of Medina's Map in Excellent Condition

"Mundo Novo", De Medina, Pedro

Subject: North Atlantic

Period: 1554 (circa)

Publication: L'Arte del Navegar

Color: Black & White

6.9 x 4.7 inches
17.5 x 11.9 cm
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This extremely rare map was issued in the Italian edition of Medina’s "Art of Navigation," which is considered to be the first practical book on the science of navigation. Medina traveled to the New World with Cortes, so the map is based in part upon his own knowledge and observation. First published in 1545 in a slightly larger version, Medina's map was the first to depict the Papal Line of Demarcation, which runs prominently down the middle of the map. The Line was a result of the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 by which all lands to the west of the line belonged to Spain (including most of the Americas) and all lands to its east to Portugal (including a portion of eastern Brazil). Medina's map was also the first to depict the Rio Spiritu Santo (R. Spi. San.) in Texas.

Geographically, the region around Central America is reasonably well depicted including the Isthmus of Panama, although the Yucatan peninsula has reverted to an insular form. In South America, a prominent Amazon River flows northwest nearly reaching Panama. Most of the details along the eastern shore of North America are not easily distinguishable, although a distinct Gulf of St. Lawrence appears based on the explorations of Jacques Cartier. The land to the west of Mexico stretches in a southwesterly direction and is labeled Nova Spagna. Surrounding a large compass rose is a series of sailing ships indicating the navigational routes to and from Spain to the New World. Italian text on verso.

References: Burden #21; Portinaro & Knirsch p. 77.

Condition: A

A clean and bright example with an expertly repaired tear that enters about 1" into image at bottom left.

Estimate: $7,000 - $9,000

Sold for: $4,750

Closed on 2/17/2016