ALTERNATIVE TITLES – Geocarta Nautica Universale di Giovanni Vespucci – Turin World Map – Planisphère de Turin – Planisferio de Turín – Planisphäre aus Turin.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION – Map on parchment, dimensions 1120 x 2620 mm – consisting of 6 sheets bound together.
ORIGIN – Spain (maybe Seville).
DATING – 16th century (1523).
PRESENT REPOSITORY – The planisphere is now preserved in the Biblioteca Reale di Torino, with the shelfmark Mss. Vari III 175.
GENRE – Geography / Maps.
CONTENT – The map was produced the year after the conclusion of the Magellan-Elcano expedition (10 August 1519 – 8 September 1522), the first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth initially captained by Ferdinand Magellan (b. 1480, d. 1521), but whose command passed to Juan Sebastián Elcano (b. ca. 1486, d. 1526) following Magellan’s death in April 1421. The map thus shows the most recent discoveries of the two navigators in the service of the Spanish Crown. Of particular note is the representation of what would later be called the Strait of Magellan, crossed for the first time by a vessel during the expedition, and that of the Moluccas Islands – the legendary Spice Islands – on the left edge of the map. The aim of the expedition had been to reach the East Indies via the west. The depiction of the Moluccas on the left-hand side of the map was intended to signify the direct consequence of that goal being achieved, namely that the Moluccan Islands – hotly disputed between Spain and Portugal – were part of the western hemisphere that the pope had assigned to Spain. The Turin Planisphere is the oldest known specimen of the Padrón Real, the official – and secret – map of the world, which was used to make charts on board Spanish ships during the 16th century.
LANGUAGE – Latin.
CARTOGRAPHER – The Turin Planisphere is generally attributed to Giovanni Vespucci (b. 1484, d. post-1524), nephew of Amerigo Vespucci (b. 1451, d. 1512) and piloto real from 1512 to 1525 of the Real Audiencia y Casa de la Contratación de Indias. The Casa de Contratación was a Spanish Crown institution founded in 1503 to control trade between Spain and the new colonies. The position of piloto real flanked that of piloto mayor, the official who – among other duties – had the task of keeping the Padrón Real up-to-date, of which he could issue authorised copies. Some scholars believe that the Turin Planisphere was not made by Giovanni Vespucci, but rather by Nuño García de Toreno (b. ?, d. 1526), another employee of the Casa de Contratación.
STYLE – Renaissance.
Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles
Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document – The facsimile reproduces as close as possible the physical characteristics of the original document, with the aim to substitute it in the scientific research and in the libraries of the bibliophile collectors. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document.
Publisher – Priuli & Verlucca Editori (Scarmagno, 2010).
Distribution – The facsimile was distributed in Italy by Editalia – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (Rome).
Limited edition – Limited edition of 699 copies with Arabic numbering 1/699 for worldwide distribution. A further 50 copies with Roman I/L numbering have been reserved for the Publisher.
Support material and printing – The facsimile consists of 6 sheets – as in the original map – bound together on a reinforcing cloth. Hand-trimmed edges, printed in 7 colours plus gold foil, final varnishing.
Commentary – The facsimile is accompanied by a commentary in two small volumes – in Italian and English – measuring 10 x 13 cm, placed inside a slipcase. Forewords by Maurizio Fallace and Liliana Pittarello, introduction by Clara Vitulo. The study is by Corradino Astengo.
Slipcase – The map is wrapped around a cardboard core, covered with a cloth with two satin ribbons and placed in a hardback slipcase lined with blue canvas.
Copyright photos: Editalia – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato