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Schöner, Johann, 1477-1547

[Terrestrial globe]

Additional Title(s):

Brixen globes

[Germany], [ca. 1522]
Physical Description:
1 globe : paint and gesso over hollow wood sphere, brass (stand) ; 368 mm in diam.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Globes Brixen Terrestrial
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
On view at the Yale University Art Gallery
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Maps & Atlases (manuscript)
Scale [ca. 1:30,000,000]. -- (W 180°--E 180°/N 90°--S 90°).
Restricted fragile material. Use requires permission of the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Sebastian Sperantius (elected prince bishop of Brixen in 1521, died in 1525) was born in the Franconian Free Imperial City of Dinkelsbühl and taught Latin in Nuremberg from 1499 to 1503. During this time he constructed a complicated astronomical sun dial (still existing today) on the wall of the Nuremberg St. Lorenz church and furnished the scientific data for a pair of manuscript star chards made in 1503, based upon earlier charts by Regiomontanus, who had also resided in Nuremberg. Additional biographical information, and conjecture on the circumstances of the commissioning of the present globes, is provided by C.S. Wood.
Provenance: Franz Ritter von Hauslab; the Princes of Liechtenstein; Paul Mellon.
Encompassing the globe, P-5
Wood, C.S. "Print technology and the Brixen Globes", In Kunsthistoriker: Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Kunsthistorikerverbandes, 15/16 (1999/2000), p. 15-20
Mokre, J. Franz Ritter von Hauslab, pages 219-247
Oberhummer, E. "Die Brixener Globen von 1522 der Sammlung Hauslab-Liechtenstein", In Akademie der wissenschaften in Wien. Philosophisch-historische klasse. Denkschriften. 67. bd., 3. abh (1926)
Selected exhibitions: "Encompassing the globe : Portugal and the world in the 16th and 17th centuries" (Smithsonian Institution, 15 July-11 October, 2009).
One of two hand-painted globes--the other celestial--known collectively as the "Brixen globes." Both are hollow, built up of wood, and covered with gesso. The celestial globe differs slightly in construction, having a layer of felt or heavy paper between the wood and the gesso. Both are mounted in original (?) three-footed brass stands (bases mended), with horizon and movable meridian.
The pair of globes were probably made circa 1522. An inscription on the celestial globe notes that it was commissioned as a gift from Nikolaus Leopold to Sebastian Sperantius, Bishop of Brixen, in 1522. It may be deduced from this that Nikolaus Leopold gave the celestial globe to Sperancius as a mate to the terrestrial globe already owned by him, or that the terrestrial globe was made later as a mate to the celestial. That the globes are a pair is also strongly suggested by their identical measurements. It is also noteworthy that the sole surviving copy of the 1507 Waldseemüller map is bound up in a volume that at one time belonged to Schöner himself. That volume also contains a set of scarce woodcut star maps, with constellation figures by Albrecht Dürer.
The globes have been previously attributed to Johann Schöner. Recent scholarship now suggests the text on the globe is not in Schöner's hand, based on analysis of Schöner's handwriting in his annotated copy of the 1482 edition of Ptolemy's Geography and his 1520 manuscript globe.
The terrestrial globe is closely derived from the large world map that accompanied Martin Waldseemüller Cosmographiae introductio (St.-Dié, 1507). It was the first map to bear the name "America," and to show the new discoveries of the Spanish and the Portuguese. The globe is painted in varying shades of clear light brown, the seas darker, the lands lighter. The equator, tropic parallels, and Arctic and Antarctic circles are in gold, the equator being graduated in degrees. Four meridians are present, also in gold, zero degrees passing through Porto Santo, near Madeira. Outlines, mountain ranges, etc., closely follow Waldseemüller, care being taken to correct the distorted shapes inherent in his method of projection.
The nomenclature and inscriptions are also entirely derived from the 1507 maps (with two exceptions--see below) but with considerable abridgement, due to the much smaller area available on the globe. Names are in black, with a few more important names or inscriptions in red. "Brixia" is written in larger red letters. America, so named on South America, is represented in three sections: the coast of South America from about the La Plata to about Panama; coasts of North America, from a supposed strait near Panama, to about the Chesapeake; and the coast of Newfoundland. The latter is placed well east of its true position, probably to avoid the demarcation line of Pope Alexander VI, as it was a Portuguese discovery. The unknown west coasts of North and South America are covered with bands of ruffles, conventional representations of clouds.
The two exceptions to the Waldseemüller readings are (a) the legend on South Africa, "Tota ista pars affrice Ptolomeo incognita," and (b) on Hispaniola (Sto. Domingo), "Hic nascitur guiacum lignum." In slightly different forms, these legends occur on the Apianus world map of 1520. This would suggest 1520 as the earliest possible date of creation, unless, of course, the Apianus map was earlier extant in manuscript form.
Subject Terms:
America -- Discovery and exploration -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
America -- Name.
Globes -- Early works to 1800.
World maps -- Early works to 1800.
Waldseemüller, Martin, 1470-1519. Cosmographiae introductio.
Apian, Peter, 1495-1552, cartographer.
Sperantius, Sebastian, -1525, former owner.
Hauslab, Franz Ritter von, 1798-1883, former owner.
Liechtenstein, House of, former owner.
Leopold, Nicolaus.
IIIF Manifest:

Crafting Worldviews: European Instruments of Art and Science from Yale University (Yale University Art Gallery, 2023-02-17 - 2023-06-25) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Wilde Americk - Discovery and Exploration of the New World, 1500-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-09-27 - 2001-09-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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