The Marvel of Maps


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Art, Cartography, and Politics in Renaissance Italy

Francesca Fiorani


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Among the most beautiful and compelling works of Renaissance art, painted maps adorned the halls and galleries of princely palaces. This book is the first to discuss in detail the three-dimensional display of these painted map cycles and their full meaning in Renaissance culture.

Art historian Francesca Fiorani focuses on two of the most significant and marvelous surviving Italian map murals--the Guardaroba Nuova of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, commissioned by Duke Cosimo de’ Medici, and the Gallery of Maps in the Vatican, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII. Both cycles were not only pioneering cartographic enterprises but also powerful political and religious images. Presenting an original interpretation of the interaction between art, science, politics, and religion in Renaissance culture, the book also offers fresh insights into the Medici and papal courts.

Francesca Fiorani is assistant professor of art history at the University of Virginia.

"Readers . . . will find in this book an innovative way to look at Renaissance cartography, in line with the most recent methodological approaches. But this is equally appealing reading for Renaissance historians and historians of science, who will certainly find interesting insights. . . . An important contribution and an inspiring reading for a broad multidisciplinary audience."—Veronica della Dora, H-Net Review 

“…this is an informative and enjoyable text on a fascinating subject…excellent illustrations…supplemented by an appendix detailing the decorative schemes for the Guardaroba Nuova and the Gallery of Maps.” - Gabriele Neher, The Art Book

"If ever a scholar has embraced an interdisciplinary approach and shown how divergent disciplines can come together, this author has done so successfully. Not only is this book of interest to art historians, but historians, political scientists, geographers, scientists, and an inquisitive general audience would also find useful information here."—Sara Nair James, Sixteenth Century Journal

Received Honorable Mention for the 2006 Premio Salimbeni, awarded by the Fondazione Salimbeni
ISBN: 9780300107272
Publication Date: June 11, 2005
360 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
130 b/w + 30 color illus.