Battista Agnese (ca. 1500–1564), was a Genoese cartographer whose prolific workshop in Venice produced dozens of illuminated atlases in an era when European geographic knowledge was rapidly changing. Produced for educated readers—not for the way-finding traveler—Agnese’s atlases helped codify and disseminate a new understanding of the globe. Building on an Ancient Greek understanding of geography, derived ultimately from Ptolemy (ca. 100–170 AD), the world map shown here includes new information on the cartography of North and South America, such as the existence of the Baja California Peninsula. The map also suggests the limits of Agnese’s knowledge at the time: for example, the coast of present-day Chile, on the western side of South America, is essentially left blank.
Battista Agnese, World Map, Venice, 1542; MS M.507, fols. 14v–15r. Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1912.