Ms. atlas; written and illuminated in Venice, Italy, in 1542.
Scribe and artist: Battista Agnese; signed and dated on fol. 13v: baptista agnese fecit venetijs 1542 die 15 mai; the windrose is not believed to be by Agnese.
Decoration: 1 illuminated windrose, 1 illuminated zodiacal circle; 1 full-colored world map with 12 blowing wind heads; 9 other maps with details in colors and wash gold.
Between 1536 and 1564, the heyday of Italian mapmaking, the cartographer Battista Agnese produced in Venice a number of remarkably accurate and beautifully decorated nautical or "portolan" atlases. About seventy copies are known to exist today. A luxury item, the atlas was unlikely to have been used in practical navigation and was reserved for rich merchants and high-ranking officials.
The map with twelve wind cherubs traces Ferdinand Magellan's sea route for his near circumnavigation of the world (he died before completing it) in 151922 along with a route from Spain to Peru. The oval depiction of the world represented a new type of map introduced by Benedetto Bordone's Isolario (Book of Islands).