Tom Conley

Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures

Giovanni Cimerlino
Single Cordiform Map
Venice, 1566

As its name suggests, the cordiform projection resembling a heart invites spectators to behold the entirety of the globe on a flat plane. Perhaps inspired by the writings of Saint Paul, the cartographer’s choice of the heart implies a force of generosity and charity in its depiction of the world in 1534. The model for this (proof) copy was Oronce Fine’s great map of 1534, a woodcut whose toponyms required the map maker to set metal type into the wood block. By engraving both map and textual matter on copperplate Cimerlino avoided the clumsy aspect of rectilinear writing tipped into a curvilinear plane, enabling him to “bend” the letters in proportion with the globe’s rotundity.

20.75 L x 23.5 W (in)
51-2482, From the Library of the Princes of Liechtenstein, 1952

Explore this map in detail

Tom Conley speaks about the map and its heart shape