De Jode’s rendering of Ortelius’ wall-map of the world

By JODE, Gerard de, 1578 

Universi Orbis Seu Terreni Globi In Plano Effigies Cum privilegio.

World World maps
  • Author: JODE, Gerard de
  • Publication place: [Antwerp
  • Publication date: 1578].
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map, blank to verso.
  • Dimensions: 420 by 550mm (16.5 by 21.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14497

Notes

De Jode’s world map was first published separately as Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Descriptio’ in 1571. This example was prepared for his atlas, Speculum Orbis Terrae’, in 1578.

De Jode’s map is drawn on a cordiform (or heart-shaped) projection, which was developed at the beginning of the sixteenth century as a reaction to the European discovery of the Americas, and the need for a more effective method of showing the surface of the newly enlarged world on a flat surface. The projection had symbolic as well as practical uses. De Jode was a Calvinist in Antwerp, at a time when the city and the Low Countries were caught in a violent struggle between the Spanish Catholic monarchy and the Protestant uprisings of the Reformation (Veldman). The world as heart was a Renaissance emblem embodying the effect of inner emotions on the physical world, but in the early sixteenth century it developed into a distinctly reformist symbol. Lutheran theologians saw the heart as the seat of human emotion, and thus central to understanding scripture. It also demonstrated the insignificance of humanity’s pursuit of earthly ambitions compared to the world (Brotton).

Gerard de Jode (1509–1591) was a cartographer and publisher. The Speculum Orbis Terrarum’ was intended as competition for Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’. The two, who made their living partly as map-sellers, were competitors and apparently not always on good terms. It has been suggested that Ortelius was responsible for delaying the publication of de Jode’s work, by using his extensive contacts to prevent de Jode’s atlas being granted the necessary approbations (or privileges), as Ortelius wished to protect his own work. De Jode did not gain all the necessary approbations until 1577, some seven years after the publication of the Theatrum’, the first copies of the Speculum’ being sold at Plantin’s shop in 1579. Ortelius’ cunning plan would seem to have worked, as Plantin’s records suggest that very few copies were actually sold. Although sales of de Jode’s work were less than ideal, the work was evidently held in high regard, with several contemporary works citing its importance alongside the atlases of Mercator and Ortelius.

The present map is the fourth state of five, with place names added to the oceans and Terra Incognita” added to North America. This and the final fifth state, do not appear to bear text on the back, and were most likely issued separately by de Jode. 

Bibliography

  1. Shirley 124 state 4 with names of the oceans added, and the word Tara Oncognita” to North America.
    • Shirley, Rodney. (1987). The mapping of the world. London: Holland Press.