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Was Leonardo da Vinci’s World Map the First to Name America? A Quincentennial Reappraisal

Leonardo da Vinci’s World Map, image

Abstract
In addition to his better known artistic, scientific and engineering talents, Leonardo da Vinci has an extensive reputation as a cartographer, drawing maps for a wide range of hydro-engineering projects for the rulers of Florence, Milan, Arezzo and the Vatican, amongst others. However, he is not generally acknowledged as authoring a world map (or mappamundi) spanning the globe, which was the domain of a few specialized cartographers of the era. Nevertheless, there is a world map among his papers in the Royal Library, Windsor, which has the correct overall configuration of the continents, including an ocean at the north pole and a continent at the south pole. Moreover, it has a unique cartographic projection onto eight spherical-geometry triangles that provide close to isometric projection throughout the globe.

This quincentennial anniversary year of his death in 1519 is an appropriate moment for a reappraisal of this contribution to global cartography. Although the authenticity of this world map has been questioned, there is an obscure page of his notebooks in the Codex Atlanticus containing a sketch of this precise form of global projection, tying him securely to its genesis. Moreover, the same notebook page contains sketches of eight other global projections known at that time (early C16th), from the Roman Ptolomaic conic section projection to Rossellli’s (1508) oval planispheric projection. This paper reassesses the dating of Da Vinci’s unique mappamundi to suggest that it predates that of Waldseemüller (1507), and may thus have been the first map to name both America and Florida.

Citation:
Tyler, CW. 2019. “Was Leonardo da Vinci’s World Map the First to Name America? A Quincentennial Reappraisal,” Calafia Journal, 2:7-12. PDF

Lecture: Was Leonardo da Vinci’s World Map the First to Name America?

Was Leonardo da Vinci’s World Map the First to Name America?

by: Christopher W. Tyler, Ph.D., D.Sc.  –  Saturday Sept 28 @ 3:00 PM

Christopher Tyler’s scientific interests are in visual perception and visual neuroscience. With regards to Leonardo da Vinci, Tyler’s interests extend from his youthful activities as an extempore singer and artist’s model in Florence to his architectural and anamorphic influences in the Court of Renaissance France.

image+%281%29.jpgIn addition to his better known artistic, scientific and engineering talents, Leonardo da Vinci has an extensive reputation as a cartographer, drawing maps for a wide range of hydro-engineering projects for the rulers of Florence, Milan, Arezzo and the Vatican, amongst others. However, he is not generally acknowledged as authoring a world map (or mappamundi) spanning the globe, which was the domain of a few specialized cartographers of the era. Nevertheless, there is a world map among his papers in the Royal Library, Windsor, which has the correct overall configuration of the continents, including an ocean at the north pole and a continent at the south pole. Moreover, it has a unique cartographic projection onto eight spherical-geometry triangles that provide close to isometric projection throughout the globe.

This quincentennial anniversary year of his death in 1519 is an appropriate moment for a reappraisal of this contribution to global cartography. Although the authenticity of this world map has been questioned, there is an obscure page of his notebooks in the Codex Atlanticus containing a sketch of this precise form of global projection, tying him securely to its genesis. Moreover, the same notebook page contains sketches of eight other global projections known at that time (early C16th), from the Roman Ptolemaic conic section projection to Rosselli’s (1508) oval planispheric projection. This paper reassesses the dating of Da Vinci’s unique mappamundi to suggest that it predates that of Waldseemüller (1507), and may thus have been the first map in history to name both America and Florida.

EXHIBITION: Mana BSMT Presents: N. M. Brandreth’s Phantasmagoria’s Seeing Shadows

Apr. 26–Jun. 7, 2019
MORE INFORMATION

Have you ever glimpsed a movement out of the corner of your eye and turned to find nothing there? Have you ever bolted up the basement steps convinced that something was down there with you? Seeing Shadows attempts to visualize these sensations as photographic objects. Derived from Brandreth’s love for horror and the macabre, and from the histories of photography and film, these unique handmade works are at once seductive and utterly uncanny.

Continue reading “EXHIBITION: Mana BSMT Presents: N. M. Brandreth’s Phantasmagoria’s Seeing Shadows”

PANEL AND EXHIBITION: Watercolor Rediscovered: Whistler in the Nineteenth Century

Watercolor Rediscovered: Whistler in the Nineteenth Century
Exhibition: May 18, 2019–October 6, 2019
Freer Gallery of Art, galleries 10 and 11

James McNeill Whistler reinvented himself as an artist in the 1880s and painted his way into posterity with the help of watercolor. Beginning in 1881, he created a profusion of small, marketable works over the next fifteen years. “I have done delightful things,” he confided, “and have a wonderful game to play.” For Whistler, the word “game” referred to the watercolors themselves and to his plans for selling them.

Museum founder Charles Lang Freer amassed the world’s largest collection of Whistler’s watercolors, with more than fifty seascapes, nocturnes, interior views, and street scenes. His vast collection also included prints, drawings, pastels, and oil paintings by the artist. Due to Freer’s will, these works have never left the museum, and the fragile watercolors have rarely been displayed. Recent research conducted by museum curators, scientists, and conservators now shines new light on Whistler’s materials, techniques, and artistic genius, as seen in this first major exhibition of his watercolors at the Freer Gallery since the 1930s.

In conjunction with the opening of Whistler in Watercolor, explore the development of watercolor in the Victorian era and James McNeill Whistler’s contributions to the genre at an event on Sunday, May 19, 2019, 2pm.
Continue reading “PANEL AND EXHIBITION: Watercolor Rediscovered: Whistler in the Nineteenth Century”

SYMPOSIUM: Collecting the “Uncollectible”: Earth and Site-Specific Sculpture

Presented by the Center for the History of Collecting, Frick Art Reference Library, The Frick Collection, NY
Thursday, May 23, 2019, 2 – 7 p.m.

More information: https://www.frick.org/research/center/symposia
Program PDF

This half-day symposium focuses on collecting site-specific, large-scale, and light-based works by artists including, among others, Walter de Maria, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, Michelle Stuart, and James Turrell. A panel of scholars, curators, collectors, an artist, and a conservator explores related challenges of installation, maintenance, preservation, and ultimate stewardship. Virginia Dwan, Suzaan Boettger, Jarl Mohn, Jessica Morgan, Leonard Riggio, and Michelle Stuart are among the participants. Sponsorship from the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation and Northern Trust has made this event possible.

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CFP: “Weather the Weather,” a group exhibition by SciArt Center

A group exhibition by SciArt Center at the New York Hall of Science
September 10th, 2019 – January 10th, 2020

Deadline to submit: June 3rd, 11:59pm EST
More information

The weather is ever-present, often dramatic, and always uncontrollable. SciArt welcomes submissions surrounding the topics of studying, understanding, and experiencing the weather.​

Continue reading “CFP: “Weather the Weather,” a group exhibition by SciArt Center”

Interview with Janet Echelman

This interview with Janet Echelman is from the Washington Post’s series of conversations with artists about how they create. The interview includes images of her wonderfully crafted art. For those who don’t know her, her transformative public sculptures soar and ripple. For the past 20 years she has designed projects scaled to big city buildings made with braided fiber and projected light.

Here’s the link.

RIP: Michael Wolf (1954-2019)

Thinking 3D: From Leonardo to the Present

For centuries, artists and scientists have wrestled with how to convey three-dimensional objects on the page. Using some of the Bodleian Libraries’ finest books, manuscripts, prints and drawings, Thinking 3D tells the story of the development of three-dimensional communication over the last 500 years.

The exhibition shows how new techniques, developed from the Renaissance onwards, revolutionized the way that ideas in the fields of anatomy, architecture, astronomy and geometry were relayed and ultimately how this has influenced how we perceive the world today. Timed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition shows how Leonardo and his contemporaries made great strides in the realistic depiction of 3D forms. Thinking 3D explores technological advances up to the present day including 3D modelling, photography and stereoscopy; and also highlights the works of modern practitioners and researchers in Oxford.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a range of other exhibitions and events across Oxford in 2019 as part of the Thinking 3D research project.

For more information, see: https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/news/2019/mar-5

New Publication: Essential Mysteries in Art and Science (Trudy Myrrh Reagan)

Essential Mysteries in Art and Science, book coverMyrrh (AKA Trudy Myrrh Reagan), with her bright circular abstractions, “portholes into the unknown,” interprets a dozen different realms of science. In her new book, Essential Mysteries in Art and Science, she elaborates on the science behind the paintings in a dozen well- researched essays about these realms.

The friendly aspect of this book is its visual appearance. The first section is an art book, presenting Myrrh’s Essential Mysteries series of vivid paintings. The second section is a charming personal account of the artist’s encounter with science, illustrated with her other science-related works, together with many small illustrations that support points in the essays.

This has been Myrrh’s 50-year project. She began as a “newbie” married to a physicist, picking out patterns in nature to use in her work. She soon fastened onto the powerful ideas in science, those that define the outlines of the cosmos in which we live. “As I changed, so did science,” she says halfway through the book. It includes several sections on the explosion of interest, beginning in the late 1980s, in complex, dynamic, and chaotic phenomena. As well, she explores questions under investigation and those that are simply enigmas. In an age where cultural ideas and branches of sciences themselves are silos that do not communicate well, hers is an account that gracefully relates them all.

$45.00 + tax and shipping, available at www.myrrh- art.com/gift shop or directly from the artist at trudy@myrrh-art.com.