Atlas of Joan Martines


This manuscript atlas by Joan Martines, cosmographer to King Philip II of Spain, dated 1587, represents the combination of two cartographic schools that existed at the time of its creation. The older one was the traditional school of Majorca, which specialized in decorative portolan maps that by this time were obsolete with regard to the geographic information they conveyed. The newer one was the cartographic school of the Low Countries, which applied Renaissance principles and used different forms of cartographic representation based on new concepts in astronomy, mathematics, and geography to produce maps containing more information than the traditional portolans. The atlas consists of 19 maps, each on two pages, with the drawings occupying nearly the length of the pages and framed by edgings of different colors. Place-names are given in Gothic letters, in red and black ink, and in Roman small capitals. There are six nautical charts, 11 regional maps, and two maps of the world, all luxuriously illuminated in colored-wash drawing, with panes of gold and silver. Most of the maps have a large compass rose showing 16 or 32 directions, and some of the maps depict ships sailing the seas.

Last updated: January 8, 2018