Fine, Rare Lafreri School Map of the Holy Land
Handsome and scarce separately-published map of the Holy Land and Cyprus, published by Paolo Forlani.
The map stretches from the Dead Sea and Jerusalem in the south to Aleppo in the north. There are many recognizable names, like Damascus and Nicosia.
The terrain appears hilly and is bisected by many rivers. There are more than towns marked as well, such as tombs and tabernacles. Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, is mountainous yet densely settled.
The map is based upon Waldseemüller's map of the Holy Land from 1513, most likely the 1561 edition published in Venice by Giordano Ziletti. This edition has maps by Giulio Sanuto and commentary by Ruscelli. This map is larger and more decorative than Sanuto’s. Forlani's work also draws from Giacomo Gastaldi's map of 1548.
Maps showing the terrain of the Holy Land were some of the most popular of the early modern period. However, this particular map is seldom seen on the market. This is the first time we have offered it.
This is a first version of the map. Interestingly, there is another variant, on a new plate, which has the date in Arabic numerals, rather than in Roman numerals. There are also small differences in toponyms.
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.