Showing the Minotaur's Labyrinth
First state of this highly attractive map of Crete, attributed to Paolo Forlani and published by Giovanni Camocio. The map is highly decorative in the Lafreri School style and represents a fine cartographic work.
The map shows Crete in its entirety and includes a title banner and a dedication cartouche in the lower left. Fantastic detail appears throughout the map, with features such as the doors into the rock labeled Habitation d'homeni Ebestiami nel'caverne (human habitation established in caverns). The Labyrinth is shown as well.
This is the first state of the map, and it is based on Zorzi's and Pagano's earlier map published in 1538 in Venice. Two later states appeared with the imprint changed.
The Lafreri School is a commonly used name for a group of mapmakers, engravers, and publishers who worked in Rome and Venice from ca. 1544 to 1585. The makers, who were loosely connected via business partnerships and collaborations, created maps that were then bound into composite atlases; the maps would be chosen based on the buyer or compiler’s interests. As the maps were initially published as separate-sheets, the style and size of maps included under the umbrella of the “School” differed widely. These differences can also be seen in the surviving Lafreri atlases, which have maps bound in with varying formats including as folded maps, maps with wide, trimmed, or added margins, smaller maps, etc.
The most famous mapmakers of the School included Giacomo Gastaldi and Paolo Forlani, among others. The School’s namesake, Antonio Lafreri, was a map and printseller. His 1572 catalog of his stock, entitled Indice Delle Tavole Moderne Di Geografia Della Maggior Parte Del Mondo, has a similar title to many of the composite atlases and thus his name became associated with the entire output of the larger group.
Paolo Forlani (fl. ca. 1560-1571) was a prolific map engraver based in Venice. All that is known of his life are his surviving maps and prints, of which there are almost 100 (185 with later states included in the total). He also produced a globe and two town books. It is likely he came from Verona and that he died in Venice in the mid-1570s, possibly of the plague.