Carta Nautica Vitr 4-21

Carta Nautica Vitr 4-21 Facsimile Edition

Messina (Italy) — 1620-1660

A splendid example of portolan maps from the late Mallorcan school originating in Messina: an artistic and surprisingly precise depiction of the Mediterranean Sea and its adjacent regions

  1. This map of the Mediterranean from ca. 1400–20 is an exemplary specimen of a medieval portolan chart

  2. Although undated and unsigned, it can be stylistically attributed to the workshop of Plácido Caloiro y Oliva

  3. The accurate map was painted with bright shades of red, green, and blue and illuminated with gold leaf

Carta Nautica Vitr 4-21

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Carta Nautica Vitr 4-21

This portolan chart of the Mediterranean and neighboring regions from ca. 1400–20 is an excellent specimen of this genre of map. As is typical, the neck of the parchment is west-oriented and features a medallion miniature in the form of the setting sun with an image of the Madonna and Child in front of a gold leaf background. Floral borders painted red, blue, and gold run along the north and south sides of the map. Although there are no cities, other decorative elements include a camel walking across North Africa, a grotesque labelled gattumanuni signia or “image of a human cat”, a mosque, the Red Sea painted red, Mt. Sinai, Mt. Ararat with Noah's ark, and three crosses on Golgotha. The island of Sicily serves as the main wind rose of the map, which has 15 altogether, some ornately decorated. Place names are written in Italian in a manner that allows them to be read from any direction when the map is laid out on a flat surface. This map is characteristic of the late Mallorca school and, although anonymous and undated, it is stylistically characteristics of the workshop of Plácido Caloiro y Oliva, whose family had relocated to Messina, Sicily after the expulsion of the Spanish Jewry in 1492.


Portolan map of the Mediterranean, Black and Azov Seas and Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Carta Nautica Vitr 4-21 – Vitr. 4-21 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Facsimile Edition
Limited Edition: 530 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Carta Nautica Vitr 4-21

Limited Edition: 530 copies
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Format of facsimile: 33.0 × 68.2 cm
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