Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999
From: Peter van der Krogt <pvdk@delfnet.nl
Subject: Maps and instruments on paintings (16C)

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Professor Peter Humfrey, of the School of Art History, University of St Andrews, Scotland, wrote me: I am cataloguing the 16th-century Venetian paintings in the National Gallery of Washington, and there are two pictures by Sebastiano del Piombo for which I needs the help of historians of cartography. I would be most grateful for your opinion on the following problems:

detailSebastiano del Piombo, Portrait of a Humanist, c. 1520

Portrait of a Humanist (c. 1520) Could the small box-shaped object on the table be a compass, or some other geographical instrument? is there anything particularly interesting or unusual about the globe? I imagine that the sitter is a geographer rather than a Latinist.

Sebastiano del Piombo, Cardinal Sauli and Companions (1516)

Detail
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Cardinal Sauli and Companions (1516) Are the maps in the illuminated manuscript pure invention? Could this correspond to a real, existing manuscript? Sauli was a Genoese, and I imagine that the picture celebrates the achievements of the great Genoese navigators.

Please answer to the list, and I [PvdK] will forward the answers to Peter Humfrey. Peter


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