Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas

Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas

Italy — 16th century

Designed by Battista Agnese and masterfully illuminated by Guilio Clovio: a gift from the Emperor Charles V to his son Philip II

  1. Commissioned by the Emperor, the Charles V Atlas was a gift to the future Spanish King Philip II (1527–98)

  2. Created in Venice by the famous cartographer Battista Agnese and decorated by Giulio Clovio

  3. The Magellan Atlas, also commissioned by Charles V (1500–58), documents the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan

Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas

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Description
Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas

The compendium of two important atlases of the 16th century offers insight into the glory of the geographical implements that were available during the Renaissance. The Atlas of Charles V was produced in 1542 in Venice by the famous cartographer Battista Agnese with the book’s decoration being rounded out by Guilio Clovio. The Atlas of Magellan tells the story of the first circumnavigation of the world through the Portuguese, who were commissioned by the Spanish King Charles I (later Emperor Charles V). Important names are connected to this prominent and artistically impressive work of cartography.

Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas

The compendium of two important atlases of the 16th century offers insight into the glory of the geographical implements that were available during the Renaissance. The Atlas of Charles V was produced in 1542 in Venice by the famous cartographer Battista Agnese with the book’s decoration being rounded out by Guilio Clovio. The Atlas of Magellan tells the story of the first circumnavigation of the world through the Portuguese, who were commissioned by the Spanish King Charles I (later Emperor Charles V). Important names are connected to this prominent and artistically impressive work of cartography.

Cartography of the Renaissance

Through the 32 to 35 pages of the maps of the atlases, a view of the world of the middle of the 16th century is apparent. In this time, the great discoveries steadily changed the map of the world. Yet the newly discovered continents rendered the maps ever more concrete and truer to reality. Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, commissioned in 1542 the creation of an atlas, which would serve as a luxurious auxiliary tool for the geographic education of his son, Philip. The future Spanish King Philip II received the atlas as a 16th birthday present. For the cartographer, Charles V chose the Genoese Battista Agnese, who was one of the greatest of his guild. With his body of work comprising of more than 100 atlases, his knowledge and skill spoke for itself. He was employed in Venice, where he finished his cartographic works for the European Royal Houses and other important patrons. The atlas for Emperor Charles V contains a multitude of different maps: more detailed maps of specific continents, for example the Italian boot or the Baja California, with numerous legends and geographical data. Furthermore, there are different large scale world maps, a map of the stars, and a depiction of an armillary sphere.

An Atlas as a Work of Art

All of these geographically exact representations are imbedded in a large framework of magnificent borders. The frames are imbedded with ornamental representations of plants, masks, and mythical creatures. They show scenic representations and portraits, which appear to be partly in the style of antiquity. For example, depictions of knights are painted in the fashion of a Greek vase. In the entire splendor, there are mottos, Coats of Arms, and the already mentioned portraits integrated in the style of medallions from antiquity. All told, the significant influence of the Renaissance is recognizable. The artist of the design of the maps—which is partly even decorated with rich gold—was the Italian Guilio Clovio. With this main work, the Book of Hours of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, Clovio was the most famous manuscript artist of the Italian Renaissance.

The history of the First Global Circumnavigation

The second Atlas, originating in 1544, is so-named as the Magellan Atlas. It contains maps in relation to Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) and his first circumnavigation of the world. In the service of the Spanish King Charles I, later Emperor Charles V, the Portuguese navigator sailed West on September 20th, 1519 with a fleet of five ships, in order to find the so-called Western Passage to the Pacific Ocean. The enterprise was successful—the so-called Strait of Magellan was even named after him. Yet he died on the trip home in the Philippines. The maps in this atlas are likewise detailed as the Charles V Atlas. They contain exact data specific to the oceans and seas, because they mainly were meant to serve seafaring ventures.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Colección: Atlas de Carlos V y Atlas de Magallanes
Set of Atlases: the Charles V and Magellan Atlases
Der Atlas Karls V. und der Atlas Magellans
Collection: Atlas de Charles Quint et Atlas de Magellan
Collezione Atlante di Carlo V e Atlante di Magellano
Colecção Atlas de Carlos V e Atlas de Magalhães
Size / Format
32 pages 36 pages / 22.0 × 15.0 cm 20.0 × 14.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
16th century
Language
Script
Gothic Textura Quadrata
Illustrations
68 miniatures illuminated in gold and silver
Content
Two luxury atlases depicting various regions of the world by Battissta Agnese
Artist / School
Previous Owners
King Philip II of Spain (1527 – 1598)

Available facsimile editions:
Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas – John Carter Brown Library (Providence, USA) / Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2005-2007
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

Charles V Atlas

The New World

This portolan chart depicts Central America and the neighboring regions with particularly important and valuable Caribbean islands like Cuba and Hispaniola outlined with gold ink. In the Pacific Ocean, Baja California is correctly depicted as a peninsula. 60 years later, cartographers began to depict it as an island, but this manuscript was a gift from Charles to his son Philip II, who would inherit his father’s overseas empire, and so this map was created with special care and attention to detail.

Colección: Atlas de Carlos V y Atlas de Magallanes
Single Page

Magellan Atlas

The Northern Hemisphere

This unusual map is oriented with West at the top and the Arctic Circle at the center, giving us a top-down view of the globe. North America is not recognizable to modern eyes because most of it had yet to be explored, which was also true of East Asia. The long sought-after Northwest Passage is missing, and instead Asia and Europe are depicted connected to North America.

The map was created using a bright color palette and gold ink with Europe given a special red-orange color to distinguish it from the rest of the Old World. Four of the Anemoi, the wind gods who are each ascribed a cardinal direction, surround the red frame, which has four different patterns in gold four each of the four quarters of the Northern Hemisphere.

Colección: Atlas de Carlos V y Atlas de Magallanes
Facsimile Editions

#1 Colección: Atlas de Carlos V y Atlas de Magallanes

Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2005-2007
Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas – John Carter Brown Library (Providence, USA) / Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Charles V Atlas & Magellan Atlas – John Carter Brown Library (Providence, USA) / Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2005-2007
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Binding: Gilt tooled red leather binding
Commentary: 1 volume by Carmen Líter Mayayo, Amadeo Serra Desfilis, and Francisca Sanchis Ballester
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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