Atlas of Battista Agnese


Battista Agnese (circa 1500–1564) was an Italian cartographer, born in Genoa, who worked in Venice between 1536 and 1564 and became one of the most important figures in Renaissance cartography. He created approximately 100 manuscript atlases, of which more than 70 are extant, either with his signature or attributed to his school. His atlases, which are considered works of art for their high quality and beauty, are mostly portolan, or nautical, atlases printed on vellum for high-ranking officials or wealthy merchants. This 1544 atlas contains 15 full-page illuminated plates, with detailed maps and geographic figures, in bright colors, decorated with cherubs on clouds. Some of the maps are decorated with traces of gold. The oval mappa mundi has cherubs, or wind heads, in blue and gold clouds, which represent the classical 12 wind points out of which evolved the modern compass points. The most detailed maps show complete coasts, ports, and rivers and were the navigation aids of the day, but they do not generally represent inland features other than towns and cities. The atlas includes an armillary sphere and a finely drawn zodiac chart.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Atlas de Battista Agnese


Type of Item

Physical Description

16 sheets, parchment: 20 x 14 centimeters

Last updated: May 11, 2015