Spectandum dedit Ortelius mortalib. orbem Orbi spectandium Galleus Ortelium. Papins
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A brightly coloured and attractive portrait of Abraham Ortelius as Frontispiece to his 'Theatrum Orbis'. Engraved by Phillipe Galle. Following the death of their father, Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) and his sisters became map illuminators or colourists; and Ortelius had also dabbled in buying and selling general antiques. From 1558 onwards, he is recorded as purchasing multiple copies of maps in order to colour them, but also began building up a large personal collection. Ortelius was certainly the "man for the moment" whose interest in history and the classics translated itself into his maps of the ancient world and, through his draughtsmanship and cartographic skills, the production of his maps of the modern, emerging world. His life spanned a period of dramatic European history and the cultural enlightenment of the late Renaissance, while his friendship with the great Gerard Mercator, and other connections with like-minded geographers, historians and academics around Europe, provided the raw material for one of the landmarks of cartographic history. From about 1560, possibly as a result of his friendship with Mercator, Ortelius began to produce maps - an eight sheet world map being the earliest. At this time, Ortelius also began preparing his greatest project, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Having already become probably the greatest cartographic bibliographer of the period, Ortelius was able to prepare 53 map sheets based on the most up-to-date information, which were engraved by Frans Hogenberg, and first published in 1570. The atlas achieved instant fame as "the world's first regularly produced atlas" (Skelton), being the first atlas with maps prepared to a uniform format. It was also an immediate commercial success, being reprinted four times in 1570. This fine portrait first appeared in 1579 and is here in a post-humous edition with, on the verso, the epitaph commemorating the cartographer as carved on his tombstone.
region: Portraits and the Map Trade
mapmaker: P. Galle
place and date of publication: Antwerp c. 1600
medium and colour: Copperplate, Colouredref: 43768
size in mm: 330 by 220mm (13 by 8.75 inches).
Price: £ 500
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