Atlas of the World - Gerard Mercator’s map of the world (1569)

Sjoerd de Meer
Atlas of the World - Gerard Mercator’s map of the world (1569)
Publishinghouse Walburg Pers
35 x 49 cm
ISBN 978.90.5730.854.3
60 pages

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Gerard Mercator (1512 – 1594) was one of the most important cartographers of the 16th century. His ‘Atlas of the World’ is one of the highlights in the cartographic collection of the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. It was assembled out of three copies of Mercator’s famous Map of the World of 1569. In this map Mercator employed a new type of projection, with increasing latitude towards the poles. This so-called ‘Mercator projection’ marked the beginning of a new era in the evolution of navigation charts and is still widely used today.

THE SINGLE COLOURED COPY Today, only three copies of the world map and two fragments in the ‘Mercator Atlas of Europe’ (collection British Library) have been preserved. But only the copy of the Maritiem Museum Rotterdam has been carefully assembled, probably by Mercator himself in the form of an atlas: the ‘Atlas of the World’. It contains remarkably large maps of oceans and continents, and is therefore thought to be a prototype for a sea-atlas that was never taken into production. The atlas is a feast for the eyes: mythological scenes, Renaissance letters and elaborate depictions of monsters, ships and people, and the first separate map of the North Pole.

On the celebration of Mercator’s 500th anniversary (2012) the Maritime Museum Rotterdam and Walburg Pers have decided to publish a new, full-colour high quality reproduction of the ‘Atlas of the World’.

Sjoerd de Meer (1958) is a historian and art historian. He is map curator at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. He was the editor and main author of the ‘Zeekaartenboek’ and co-author of the ‘Schat of Corpus Christi’, both published in 2007 by the Walburg Pers.

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Manufacturer Walburg Press
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