Sarah McPhee and Lee Palmer Wandel | Newberry

Sarah McPhee and Lee Palmer Wandel

Lee Palmer Wandel

Lee Palmer Wandel

Sarah McPhee

Sarah McPhee

Friday, October 7, 2016

2 to 5 pm


Free and open to the public; precirculated papers
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Seminar in European Art

Descriptio and the Mundus Creatio ac Fabrica: The Project of Mercator’s Maps

Lee Palmer Wandel, University of Wisconsin-Madison

While Gerard Mercator most often used “tabula” to name what we now call “maps,” prefaces to his 1595 Atlas set forth a project of descriptio of, as he called it, Mundi Creatione ac Fabrica. What was that project?

Falda’s Map as a Work of Art

Sarah McPhee, Emory University

Giovanni Battista Falda’s 1676 map of Rome is the most celebrated image of the city produced during the seventeenth century. It subsumes a vast array of information, but is also an exquisite visual image that opens worlds when read as a work of art. Rome floats like an icon, surrounded by framing elements expounding its message. This paper examines the minds and hands behind the map: from Maratta’s figures of Religion and Justice, to the aureole of shields containing the publisher’s letter to readers, to Widman’s lettered tables set within cartouches bedecked with mapmakers’ tools, to the parchment curl of Falda’s regional map of land surrounding Rome, his familiar vedute and celebrated bird’s-eye view of the urban core.

Seminar coordinators: Diane Dillon, The Newberry Library; Walter Melion, Emory University; and Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Art Institute of Chicago. Sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Cost and Registration Information 

This scholarly program is free and open to all. The format is not a lecture, but discussion of precirculated papers. To request a copy of the papers, please email Mary N. Kennedy at