Old Maps Collection
Universa ac navigabilis totius terrarum orbis descriptio, cum omnibus portubus, ynsulis, fluviis, Promo[n]toriis, stationibus, angulis, ac sinibus, adicta certissima, tum latitudinis, tum longitudinis graduu[m] dimensione, ut nihil reliquum sit, quod ad yustum cosmographiae tractatum spectare videatur
[Océan Atlantique Nord]
Homem, André, fl. 1559-1586, cartographer
JPEG 2000, 9589 × 12000, 3.9MB
Scale not given.
Physical Map Dimension (cm):
74 x 58 cm, on sheet 81 x 67 cm
This is the only known work by Portuguese cartographer André Homem, that certainly was very active during his time. It is most likely that he was nephew and cousin of the famous Lopo Homem and Diogo Homem respectively, but it is not certain. He fled from Portugal certainly before 1559 and lived in Paris working as a cosmographer for King Charles IX of France (1550-1574). Originally the chart was in one piece but later was cut into 10 pieces, however, this planisphere is the largest of all surviving early Portuguese charts. Only when the 10 pieces are together, side by side, it is possible to appreciate the drawing and ornamentation, the perfect arrangement and balance of the whole. This is one of the most remarkable early cartographic works and André Homem one of the greatest early Portuguese cartographers and artists.
Original is a manuscript map in 10 parchment sheets of 76 x 62 cm or smaller, which mounted would be 153 x 298 cm.
Title of each sheet from provenance library.
On the upper part of the chart there are three major crowned coats of arms, the one in the middle is half composed by the coats of arms of Spain and Portugal split by the Tordesillas meridian, which divided the newly-discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire. On each upper corner of the chart there is a Spanish and Portuguese one on their respective assigned parts of the world. On the bottom middle there is a scroll work cartouche with the explanation of the Tordesillas meridian. On each of the four corners of the map there are wheel tables with the sun's declination, giving its position in the 12 signs of the Zodiac for each month. There are thirteen 32-point compass roses on the chart, the three bigger ones with a fleur-de-lis indicating north and the 10 smaller ones with an arrow. All colored red, blue, green and gold with rhumb lines for the principal winds in black, half-winds in green and quarter-winds in red. As for flags there are a total of nine and 14 coats of arms, five of Spain and four of Portugal, one of France, England, Germany, Hungary and Turkey. On sea can be seen 10 vessels and six sea monsters. Some of the place names are given inside banderoles. There is a Calvary in Judea and the Caspian Sea is colored blue.
Four tables of leagues inside scrollwork cartouches with phytomorphic motifs attached to the sun's declination tables, on the bottom for the top wheels and heading the bottom ones.
Relief shown pictorially.
Landmasses and bigger islands outlined in green with small islands colored green, red and blue.
The Equator, the Tordesillas meridian, the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and the Arctic and Antarctic Circles in gold.
Latitude line in the Atlantic Ocean, unconnected at the Equator, in red, blue, green and gold interchangeably.
Places names in black and red.
Map mainly in Latin with place names in Portuguese and Spanish.
Map framed in faded red border.
Cortesão, A. Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica, vol. 2, p. 67-71
Foncin, M. Catalogue des cartes nautiques sur vélin conservées au Département des cartes et plans, 39
Pflederer, R. Census of Portolan Charts & Atlases: as reported and listed by the noted scholars of the genre in their works ranging from 1897 to 2008, p. 52
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Provenance Call No.:
GE CC-2719 (RES)