[Geographia Quid]

Method Woodcut
Artist Frisius, Gemma after Apianus, Petrus
Published En Anvers, chez Iean Bellere, a l'Aigle d'or. M.D.LXXXI [Antwerp, 1581]
Dimensions 240 x 165 mm
Notes A illustration of the terrestrial globe alongside a diagram demonstrating the observation of the stars, from the 1581 French printing of Gemma Frisius' edition of Peter Apian's landmark Cosmographicus liber. The diagram, originally entitled 'Geographia Quid' is here translated into French as 'Que c'est que Geographie' - What is Geography? This critical first question is the foundation of Apian's treatise, provided as a point of orientation for his reader. The eye of the observer is depicted in reference to the terrestrial and celestial globes, with the cities and topography of the Earth shown in light and shade, and with oversized figures pacing its surface. The zodiac runs in a band across a celestial globe that is likewise shown in light and shade. To the left, parts of the four continents are labelled on a second and larger terrestrial globe. Interestingly, for Frisius' French printings of the book, the block is reversed from the layout seen in Latin editions. On the verso, the decorative initial 'C' commencing Apian's commentary is appropriately decorated with a portrait of his patron, Charles V.

Jemme Reinerszoon, known under his Latin nom de plume Gemma Frisius (1508-1555), was a Frisian cartographer, astronomer, physician, and mathematical and scientific instrument maker. Among his students were some of the most important scientific minds of the age, including Mercator, John Dee, and Vesalius.

Petrus Apianus, born Peter Bienewitz (1495-1552), was a German cartographer, astronomer, and humanist scholar, best known for his two seminal astronomical works, the influential and much reprinted Cosmographicus liber (1524) and the lavishly decorated Astronomicum Caesareum (1540). The former brought its author into the orbit of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who appointed him Court Mathematician and made him both a Free Imperial Knight and a Count Palatine.

Condition: Time toning and minor foxing to sheet, especially along edges. Minor surface creasing to sheet. French text on verso.
Framing unmounted
Price £275.00
Stock ID 51462