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The Kraus Map Collection


Kraus 2, Venetie (Circa 1514)

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Title   Venetie
Alternate Title   Venice
Cartographer   Barbari, Jacopo de' (ca. 1460-1470 - ca. 1516)
Subject   Venice (Italy)--Maps
Publisher   Kolb, Anton
Repository   Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Place of publication
     or creation
Date(s)   Circa 1514
Format   Printed map
Kraus catalog no.   2
Dimensions in mm.   1330 x 2800 mm.
Rights   No known U.S. copyright restrictions. Please cite the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, as the image source.


Woodcut on six large sheets, measuring c. 2800 x 1330 mm. overall (exclusive of narrow blank margins of some edges).

The Barbari view-plan pictures Venice at the height of its fame, when it was still a truly imperial city, its long-time near-monopoly of trade with the extra-European world just beginning to be threatened by the new oceanic navigation to the East and West Indies. This plan became the model for a whole branch of cartography and is an important work of art in itself, the most grandiose creation of fifteenth-century graphic art.

Jacopo de' Barbari (c. 1450-c. 1515) worked at Venice in the earlier part of his career. He was a close friend of Albrecht Dürer, who met him at Venice in 1495, and again in Germany in 1503, 1504, and at other times Barbari's other surviving works consist of engravings and paintings, some of them signed with the caduceus (winged staff) of Mercury, his personal emblem.


What Barbari did was to depict his city from an imaginary bird’s-eye view, selecting a point from which the most important buildings were nearest and could be rendered in greatest detail, with outlying sections and suburbs becoming smaller in accordance with the perspective. Though such a view-plan cannot be used to measure point-to-point distances, it has the great merit of including small pictures of churches, municipal buildings, fortifications and even private houses, and it was therefore of much use to the traveller and visitor, just as it is now of the highest importance to the historian and archaeologist.

The Barbari view-plan of Venice was prepared by the artist in the years 1498-1500, and was published by Anton Kolb in the latter year. The present example is of the second state, which for the most part is exactly as the first state, but in which the following few alterations of details have been made.