Rare Lafreri School Map of Austria and Hungary
A finely-engraved antique map of central Europe by the Venetian cartographer Ferrando Bertelli. This map is the last known derivative of the Domenico Zenoi map of the region, first published in 1559, itself based on the c. 1552-56 Wolfgang Lazius map.
Stretching from Linz in the northwest to Belgrade in the southeast, this map includes a large amount of attractive detail, all engraved in the typical Lafreri School style. The mountains are attractively rounded, cities are shown with individual buildings, usually bursting out of their city walls, and trees are delicately printed. The map focuses on the regions of Austria and Hungary, but also shows parts of Poland and Serbia.
This map traces its cartography back to the important 1552-56 Wolfang Lazius map of Central Europe, Regni Hungariae Descriptio Vera, which would spread in influence throughout Europe, forming the basis of the Ortelius and de Jode mapping of the region. The first Italian derivative of this map was published in 1559 by Domenico Zenoi, and this map was reproduced four further times in Italy. Bertelli produced an earlier version of the map in c. 1560, Austria e Ungaria. His Nova Descripcio differs from this earlier plate in extending the map slightly further west, showing the city of Linz in full.
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.