Beautiful flat earth Map of 1587 (not so flat).

Beautiful flat earth Map of 1587 (not so flat).

Information about Urbano Monte's early years is relatively scarce compared to his later accomplishments in cartography. We know that Urbano Monte was born in Milan, Italy, around the year 1544 but not much is known about his family or early upbringing. He likely received a solid education, as evidenced by his later work as a cartographer, which required proficiency in mathematics, geography, and other subjects to say the least!

Urbano Monte's 1587 world map
Urbano Monte's 1587 world map, framed.

Urbano Monte was the Italian cartographer who created the remarkable world map in 1587, known as the "Planisphere." This world map is notable for its intricate detail and super innovative design for its time.

monte flat earth map of 1587

Here is what makes Urbano Monte's 1587 Planisphere, or world map, stand out. 

  • 1.Unique Projection: The Planisphere is one of the earliest examples of a thematic map, meaning it goes beyond just geographical accuracy and includes various thematic elements. Monte used a unique cordiform projection, resembling a heart shape, which was uncommon for world maps of that era. In the case of Urbano Monte's world map, its cordiform projection and the way it's presented (with the continents spread out in a single plane) might be misinterpreted by some as indicative of a flat Earth. However, this interpretation neglects the fact that the map was created within the context of the prevailing scientific understanding of the Earth's shape as a sphere. While Urbano Monte's map is indeed unique and may appear unusual to modern eyes, it does not depict a flat Earth. Instead, it represents the Earth's spherical shape using a cordiform projection, which distorts the continents into a heart-shaped form.
  • 2. Detailed Representation: Urbano Monte's world map is highly detailed, showing not only the continents but also numerous cities, rivers, mountains, and other geographical features. The level of detail is remarkable for its time and reflects Monte's dedication to accuracy and precision.
Monte world map 1587 detail
  • 3. Innovative Features: The Planisphere includes several innovative features, such as a graduated scale of longitude and latitude lines, which was relatively rare in maps of the 16th century. It also includes insets showing celestial phenomena, demonstrating Monte's interest in astronomy.
monte world map 1587
  • 4. Manuscript Form: The map was created in manuscript form, meaning it was hand-drawn and hand-colored. It consists of 60 individual sheets that, when assembled, form a large wall map measuring approximately 10 feet by 10 feet (3 meters by 3 meters).
  • 5. Preservation: Despite its age and fragility, the Urbano Monte Planisphere has survived to the present day and is considered a valuable historical artifact. It is currently housed in the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University, where it is carefully preserved and occasionally exhibited.
David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford University.

Overall, Urbano Monte's 1587 Planisphere is a remarkable achievement in the history of cartography, showcasing both technical skill and a deep understanding of geographical principles. It provides valuable insights into the state of geographical knowledge and mapping techniques during the late Renaissance period.

Urbano Monte's 1587 map, gold framed, ready to hang.

We have a 34"x34" stretched canvas print of this beautiful map available in our shop if you would like to own your own reproduction of Urbano Monte's 1587 world map! It's beautiful!

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