Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. A true copy of the map panel in the Guardaroba in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. After Fra Egnazio Danti. 1536-1586. L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli"  [The last known parts of the Western Indies]. [Florence]: Dated "M.D.LXIIII M. AG" [1564 The Month of August]. BUT painted in the early 18th Century.
Lot 146W
Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. A true copy of the map panel in the Guardaroba in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
After Fra Egnazio Danti. 1536-1586.
L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies]. [Florence]: Dated "M.D.LXIIII M. AG" [1564 The Month of August]. BUT painted in the early 18th Century.
US$ 70,000 - 100,000
£ 53,000 - 75,000

Lot Details
Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. A true copy of the map panel in the Guardaroba in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. After Fra Egnazio Danti. 1536-1586. L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli"  [The last known parts of the Western Indies]. [Florence]: Dated "M.D.LXIIII M. AG" [1564 The Month of August]. BUT painted in the early 18th Century.
Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. A true copy of the map panel in the Guardaroba in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
After Fra Egnazio Danti. 1536-1586. L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies]. [Florence]: Dated "M.D.LXIIII M. AG" [1564 The Month of August]. BUT painted in the early 18th Century.
Painted map, gouache on paper, laid down on linen, relined on canvas, map 1100 x 960 mm, titled along the upper margin and marked "Terra o Mare incognito" below, with a "marbled" cartouche at upper center describing the map and its sources "In the present map is exhibited the Kingdom of Cevola with the addition of most recent areas discovered toward the west and the North. And since there is no clear knowledge ... the remainder of the space is left blank ... until such time that God pleases to give us notice" (translation), with the date incorporated into the decoration at lower right. The joined sections of thick paper are painted over with a cream ground, and the geography painted over, the seas in a dark green/blue, land with a sepia/green brush strokes, a few mountain ranges denoted to the North and East, together with the province names (Quivira, Tolm, Astatlan, Cerola), and a few interior settlements named, numerous interior rivers (Tiguas [tribe found near the base of the Rio Grande], Totontes, Axa (Colorado), S. Piero e Paulo) drawn out, seas with a rhumb-lines, naming the Mare del Sud, and Mare Vermiglio, islands (Giapa [Japan] also marking Nagasaki, Cazonel, Riparo, Cedri, Ancoral, Perle, S. Christofao, S. Iaco), capes and coastal settlements named. The map with a gold and red painted graticule line, the 8 wind-point letters "T G S O A P M" marked near the edges of the map, those on the land in gold and on the sea in white. A few areas of the map, notably western parts and lower margin, show old cracks and restoration to the map surface under black light, a few later restored tears to the margins, some sections of the graticule restored notably at lower right, which has been torn away, ?later paper strips placed outside the graticule. The map probably lined on old cloth, and relined on 20th century canvas, but still mounted on an old stretcher, 20th century carved Tuscan walnut frame to the style of the original panels, glazed.

A VERY RARE AND EXTRAORDINARY 18TH-CENTURY ITALIAN PAINTED COPY OF THE CALIFORNIA PANEL FROM THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT MAP ROOM IN THE WESTERN WORLD. This map is likely painted in the early 18th century by a local Florentine artist commissioned by a Grand Tour visitor to Florence. Whilst the image of the map is one of the earliest "accurate" maps of the Southern California, this painted copy still predates the earliest known accurate manuscript map of the area drawn up in 1789. The only significant difference with the original panel in Florence is the form of the title text, in the original the word note is divided to each side of the cartouche, and the form of the word Occidentali varies.

The "1564" geography of the map, as the cartouche says, is based on information from the travels of Fra. Marcos de Niza and of Coronado. Niza went up the Colorado River and returned to Spain with tales of Cities of Gold, hence the expedition in 1540-42, led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who followed in Niza's footsteps and disproved most of his claims. The resulting geography is essentially "accurate" but moved 120 degrees to the west (the Colorado river flows to the SE rather than to the SW into the Gulf of California) ... it would appear that no reliable map was drawn up from the Coronado Expedition. The names conform, in the most part, to names to be found on 1550s and 1560s world maps from Venetian cartographers such as Camocio, Gastaldi, and Forlani, the names often grossly out of position. The Kingdom of Quivira which Coronado visited is in Wichita Kansas, but is placed on the northern coast of California. The coastal geography is taken from the 1542 expedition of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (1499-1543), who was commissioned by Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Spain, to take a fleet of 3 ships up the coastline of California in search of trade opportunities or perhaps to find China. He anchored at Cedros Island, named Victoria point, named San Pedro Bay "Baya de los Fumos," and went as far north as Point Conception (Cabo de Galera), storms around Russian River forced them back south again. Cabrillo died on the return voyage, but was the first man to plot parts of the Californian coast.

The Medici ruled Tuscany for over 400 years, and with the rise of the young Cosimo I de Medici (1519-74) who came to power as a young 18 year old in 1537, the decision was made in 1540 for the family to move out of the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Vecchio) in Florence to the Pitti Palace across the Arno, and Cosimo decided to redevelop the rooms in the Palazzo Vecchio. He entrusted Giorgio Vasari with the task for the redesign of the many rooms in the palace. The "Salle delle carte Geografiche" was commissioned in 1563, the map room converted from the guardaropa. Vasari engaged Fra Egnazio Danti and later Stefano Buonsigniori to paint the 57 map panels that were planned. Of the 53 that survive, 30 are by Danti, painted 1563-1570, and 23 by Stefano 1570-1589, many based on Ptolemaic forms but those of Asia, Africa, and the Americas using accounts of early 16th century expeditions. Nigretti did the wooden ceiling and paneling from walnut, Danti was engaged to produce two large globes, to be suspended from the ceiling but only the terrestrial was made in 1581, and other instruments were ordered to adorn the room, as well as numerous portraits of famous Italians, bronze and silver statuettes and pictures of natural history, as well as wondrous objects from around the world. It was a sort of "Wunderkammer," the first of its type in the world. Amongst the objects was a collection of North American featherwork, gathered from Spanish and Portuguese sources, and hence the need for a map of the western parts of North America. Ledgers survive kept by the curators of the room documenting the pieces that were taken in and out of the room.

The Glory of the Medici flourished throughout the 16th century, but by the late 1600s their power was waning, and the family line died out in 1737. The major powers (England, France, Netherlands and Austria) agreed that the lands of Tuscany should go to Francis of Lorraine. Until this point it would have been very unlikely that any artist would have received permission to make a copy of any of the maps and pictures in the Palazzo Vecchio, which remained as the town house of the Medici. In the late 17th century, with the rise of the concept of the Grand Tour around Italy by young Nobleman from England, Sweden and elsewhere, Italian artists began to cater for their needs with portraits of the young men, and copies of works of art that they saw. This is a very rare example of a copy of a map drawn up for a Northern European client. Another similarly painted copy of the panel of the "India" map is also known to exist in private hands.
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