One of the most visually arresting maps of the world
By CIMERLINO, Giovanni , 1566

Cosmographia universalis ab Orontino olim descripta.

World World maps
  • Author: CIMERLINO, Giovanni
  • Publication place: Verona or Venice
  • Publisher: Joannes Paulus Cimerlinus Veronesis in aes incidebat
  • Publication date: Anno 1566.
  • Physical description: Engraved map printed on two sheets, joined. At the upper left a decoration with a seated angel, holding a shield bearing the engraver's signature. The shield in the hands of a corresponding angel at the upper right has a simple shading. At the lower left a scene with putti and a broken column bearing a dedication to Henry Fitzalan, twelfth Earl of Arundel. His coat of arms appears on the base of the corresponding column at the lower right. The map itself is surrounded by a scrollwork frame, including the map title and the four cardinals in Latin on flying banderoles. The four corners of the plate are filled with allegorical figures. A very fine impression with unusually large margins.
  • Dimensions: 490 by 590mm. (19.25 by 23.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 2390


The map – engraved by the Veronese artist Giovanni Cimerlino – was based upon Oronce Fine’s world map of 1534; and although the two maps are cartographically almost identical, Cimerlino frames the map with an elaborate Renaissance composition. Henry Fitzalan, twelfth Earl of Arundel and Lord Maltravers (1512-1580) was a godson of King Henry VIII and a leading nobleman at the Tudor court. Arundel had the auspicious honour of serving under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I. As a leader of the Catholic nobility, he fell into disgrace in 1564 and Fitzalan bridged the troubles at home by a tour to Italy, where he may have met Cimerlino, although exactly what their relationship was remains a mystery.

Although Cimerlino was a Veronese artist, it has been argued that the map was most likely published in Venice due to the paper and ink used. Biographical information on Cimmerlino is scarce. The few signed works from his hands – among which there is no other map – are all dated between 1566 and 1570.


  1. Shirley 116
  2. Woodward, D. Analysis of paper and ink in early maps, Library Trends, 1987
  3. Imago Mundi III (Tooley, R.V., Maps in Italian Atlases, no. 19)
  4. Kish, G. "The cosmographic heart: Cordiform maps of the 16th century," Imago Mundi, vol. 19, p. 13-21.