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The First Dutch Sea Chart of the Gulf of Venice and Adriatic Sea, From the First Sea Atlas of the Mediterranean

Nice example of the rare chart of the Adriatic Sea, engraved by Pieter Van den Keere in 1595.

The chart was on of 10 sea charts which appeared in Nieuwe beschryvinghe ende Caertboeck vande Midlandtsche Zee, published in Amsterdam, in 1595, the first sea atlas of Mediterranean Sea, by the famous navigator, discoverer and cartographer Willem Barents, and published by Cornelis Claesz, a work which drew upon Barentsz' own knowledge of Spain and Italy and of the  Mediterranean Sea.

The chart includes 10 inset maps:

  • Venetia
  • Ancona
  • Brūdicio
  • Galipoli
  • La Vilona in Turkia
  • Trau in Dalmatia
  • Catarro in Dalmatia
  • Ragusa
  • Rovigno in Istria
  • San Pedro de Melata.

In view of the increase in shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar to Italy, Willem Barentsz started to make sailing descriptions and charts for the coasts along which the merchant mariners had to sail. Eventually, he decided to publish his notes and charts “for the good of navigation in general and in the interest of its progress." This decision was undoubtedly influenced by Petrus Plancius and Cornelis Claesz.

Barentsz's chart book of the Mediterranean and his explorations in the Arctic were to make him one of the best-known pilots of the Low Countries in the latter part of the sixteenth-century.  The work was a tremendous success, published several languages between 1595 and 1609.  Barentsz's chartbook would continue to be the only pilot of the Mediterranean until Blaeu published the third part of his Licht der Zeevaert in 1618.  


The map is of the utmost rarity.  We find only a single example of the map offered for sale at auction (Sothebys 1995) and no examples at auction.  RBH lists only 1 complete example of the atlas at auction in the past 50 years.