Explorations and geographical discoveries gave an extraordinary impulse to cartographic study, so that during the 16th and 17th centuries the production of globes together with that of maps and nautical charts became an activity of recognised prestige. This was a high quality scientific craft, based on mathematical, geographical and astronomical knowledge, which had to be constantly updated with respect to new discoveries, on pain of a loss of credibility and prestige for the commercial enterprise and its products. Expression of this activity is certainly Willem Janszoon Blaeu, promoter of an authoritative cartographic laboratory, active for over fifty years thanks also to his sons Joan and Cornelis. He was the author of many large-scale terrestrial and celestial globes, now present in Europe’s most prestigious collections: the one made around 1654 and conserved in the Vatican Museums already shows the lands of Australia, the western and northern coasts of Australia are more detailed, and New Zealand, still little known, is more sketchy. Peculiar is the representation of California as an island. The geographical indications referring to the ancient world are in Latin, in other languages the new discoveries and cities.
Project: 9. Travels and travelers: economic, social and cultural connections.
Scope: Secondary Education, Higher Education
Resource type: Image
Source: Globo terracqueo di Blaeu e figli, Musei Vaticani (MV 70159) / Willem Janszoon Blaeu (Alkmaar 1571 – Amsterdam 1638)
Language: Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch and French
Date: 1654 ca.
Owner: Manuela Ghizzoni (Modernalia)
Copyright: © Governatorato dello SCV – Direzione Musei
Abstract: Terrestrial globes by Willem Janszoon, updated to the geographical discoveries of the 17th century