Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 and 1516 World Maps

Chicago Map Society Meeting
Thursday, March 21, 2013

5:30 pm – 7 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

presented by Chet van Duzer

Chet Van Duzer will present material from the new book Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 & 1516 World Maps (Library of Congress / Levenger Press), which he co-authored with John Hessler.

The focus will be on the sources Waldseemüller used in creating his two large world maps, and on the maps as evidence for the evolution of his cartographic thought. The 1507 map is famous for being the first to apply the name “America” to the New World. His Carta marina of 1516 has always remained in the shadow of his 1507 map—less famous and less studied. In fact the Carta marina is in several ways more interesting than the 1507 map: it is the result of Waldseemüller’s radical re-evaluation of what a world map should be. Waldseemüller essentially started from scratch in creating the Carta marina, rejecting the Ptolemaic model and other sources he had used in creating the 1507 map, and adding more descriptive text and a rich program of illustration. Van Duzer will examine the differences between the two maps and discuss the new sources that Waldseemüller used for the Carta marina, placing particular emphasis on his iconographical sources.

Chet Van Duzer recently completed a Kislak Fellowship at the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress, where he studied Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta marina of 1516, and is currently an Invited Research Scholar at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island. He has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps in journals such as Imago Mundi, Terrae Incognitae and Word & Image. He is also the author of Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study, published by the American Philosophical Society in 2010, the first detailed analysis of one of the earliest surviving terrestrial globes that includes the New World, and his book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps will be published by the British Library in May of this year.

Social half-hour with refreshments begins at 5:30 pm followed by the lecture at 6 pm. We hope to arrange for copies of Seeing the World Anew to be available for purchase and for Mr. van Duzer to sign copies after the lecture.

Please Note: There will be no Chicago Map Society meeting held in April.

Cost and registration information: 

Meetings are open to the public. We do, however, ask for a $5 donation from non–Map-Society members to help support program costs, which are covered by members’ annual dues.