Barcelona, Museu Maritim

The 1439 Portolan Chart by Gabriel de Vallseca Facsimile Edition

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The 1439 Portolan Chart by Gabriel de Vallseca is one of the most important documents of medieval cartography currently kept in Spain. Its Gothic illuminations and ink outlines on parchment represent the Mediterranean sea, the Black sea, the sea of Azov, and the Atlantic coasts of Europe and north Africa.

Produced by a Catalan cartographer of Jewish origin, Gabriel de Vallseca, the chart faithfully portrays 15th-century politics thanks to the shields and flags drawn in every territory, showing which dynasty ruled over them. The Portulan chart also contains invaluable information on physical geography, plants, animals, as well as noteworthy historical facts.

An inscription on the back proves that the document once belonged to the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Antonio Despuig y Dameto bought the chart in Florence before 1785 and housed it in the Raixa mansion in Majorca, where his heirs, the Counts of Montenegro, preserved it. The chart is currently kept in the Maritime Museum of Barcelona.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "The 1439 Portolan Chart by Gabriel de Vallseca": La Carta de Gabriel de Vallseca de 1439 facsimile edition, published by Lumen Artis, 2009

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La Carta de Gabriel de Vallseca de 1439

Barcelona: Lumen Artis, 2009

  • Commentary (Catalan, Spanish abstract, English abstract) by Pujades i Bataller, Ramón J.
  • Limited Edition: 950 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, The 1439 Portolan Chart by Gabriel de Vallseca: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

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