The Italian Nobleman Urbano Monte’s World Map of 1587: Sources, Development, and his Interest in Japan

  • 11 Mar 2020
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • The Japan Foundation, Toronto 2 Bloor St. East, 3rd Floor Toronto, ON M4W 1A8

This event if organized by the Japan Foundation, Toronto and Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto.

In this talk Chet Van Duzer will discuss a spectacular Italian world map made in 1587 by the Milanese noble Urbano Monte. It consists of 60 manuscript sheets designed to be assembled into a map on a north polar projection more than three meters in diameter. It is distinctive for its rich program of decoration, its large hypothetical southern continent, and Monte’s intention that it be mounted so that it could be rotated about its center. Its depiction of Japan is of particular interest, as Monte had met members of the Tenshō embassy from Japan when they came to Milan in 1585, and Van Duzer will discuss the map in the context of the explosion of European interest in Japan that followed the ambassadors’ visit. In the course of the talk Van Duzer will show how Monte made use of his many sources, both textual and cartographic, to create this unique and captivating image of the world, and also show the development of his world maps over time.

About the speaker:
Chet Van Duzer is a Researcher in Residence at the John Carter Brown Library and a board member of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester, which brings multispectral imaging to cultural institutions around the world. He has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps. His book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps was published in 2013 by the British Library, and is now available in editions in German, Russian, Thai, and Chinese (both mainland and Taiwan). His book The World for a King: Pierre Desceliers’ Map of 1550 was published in 2015 by the British Library, and in 2018 Springer published his book Henricus Martellus’s World Map at Yale (c. 1491): Multispectral Imaging, Sources, and Influence. His research on Urbano Monte’s manuscript world map of 1587 was funded by a David Rumsey Research Fellowship at Stanford and the John Carter Brown Library.

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