Auction 168, Lot 1

Rare Portrait Engraved by Martino Rota

"[Portrait of a Cosmographer]",

Subject: Frontispiece, Portrait

Period: 1570 (circa)


Color: Black & White

6 x 7.9 inches
15.2 x 20.1 cm

This portrait depicts a late 16th century Italian cosmographer, engraved by Martino Rota. The cosmographer is surrounded by scientific instruments, and on the table in front of him are several books and a scroll on which the name Marco Antonio Gandino Nobille Trivigano has been added in manuscript ink. In the background is a globe with three cities names - Sebenico, Venice, and Treviso. Rota was born in Sebenico and worked in Venice, so by deduction the unnamed portrait must be associated with Treviso. In fact, Marcantonio Gandino (1537-87) was the son of a noble family of Treviso, so it seems likely that this is in fact his portrait. The engraver's signature is at bottom left, with the initial "M" for Martino and the wheel symbol representing "Rota," which translates as "wheel" in Latin.

This portrait is described and illustrated (Fig.6 & cover) in David Woodward's fine monograph, Maps as Prints in the Italian Renaissance: Makers, Distributors & Consumers. Adjacent to Figure 6, Woodward notes that "Cosmography was universal geography endowed with both the harmony of mathematics and the structure of astronomy; poles, tropics, parallels, and meridians forming a net to capture the world's knowledge. Cosmography thus called on the skills of the geometrician, the geographer, and astrologer, as is shown by the accoutrements in the portrait."


Condition: B+

A nice impression, trimmed close to neatlines and hinged on later paper.

Estimate: $475 - $600

Sold for: $350

Closed on 6/6/2018