Renaissance Map Forgery

The auction house Christie’s has withdrawn an allegedly forged Renaissance map from its auction listings after scholars and map dealers questioned its authenticity.

The map is a print of Martin Waldseemüller’s famous 1507 world map, one of the first to use the name “America” to designate the continents of North and South America.

Nick Wilding, Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University, was one of the experts to raise concerns about the authenticity of the map.  Nick is a former colleague of mine at the Medici Archive Project and an expert on the history of science and the history of the book in the early modern world.

The New York Times interviewed Nick for its story on the forgery and explains that: “For Mr. Wilding, the biggest clue that something was off, he said, was a white line in the Christie’s map. It matched a spot in an authentic print of the map now held at the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where extra paper had apparently been added to repair a tear. An original map, one that came directly off the woodblock, would not have replicated that tear, which happened later, Mr. Wilding said. But this map did and so, he said, he believes the map Christie’s has represents a reproduction of the Bell map.”

The New York Times reports on the Waldseemüller forgery.

This entry was posted in Atlantic World, Cartographic History, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Globalization, History in the Media, History of Science, History of the Book, Italian History, Maritime History, Renaissance Art and History. Bookmark the permalink.

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