A Modern and Complete Map of the World by the Royal Mathematician Oronce Fine of the Dauphiné


An astronomer and mathematician, from 1531 the first chair of mathematics in the Collège Royal (the present-day Collège de France), Oronce Fine (1494–1555) was one of the first French scholars to work with cartography. His world map in the shape of a heart belongs to a group of 18 heart-shaped projection maps published between 1511 and 1566. Inspired by one of the projections described by the second-century geographer, Ptolemy, this projection system was codified by a mathematician in Nuremberg, Johannes Werner (1468–1522), in an opus written in 1514. Fine’s map reflects the state of knowledge and the geographic hypotheses and uncertainties of its day. North America is joined with Asia, and a vast Terra Australis, a hypothetical continent that geographers posited had to exist to counterbalance the weight of the northern land masses, is drawn in the south. The map is from the collection of the geographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697–1782). It was purchased by King Louis XVI in 1779 and deposited in the National Library of France in 1924.

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Title in Original Language

Recens et integra orbis descriptio. Orontius F[inaeus] Delph[inas], Regis[s] mathematic[us] facebiat


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1 map on two assembled pages: color; 51 x 57 centimeters

Last updated: February 12, 2016