2016 Sunset Report

OLG & DCRT Strategic Plan
2020-21 through 2024-25


Did you know?
Introduction Section 1:
Cultural Assumption
Section 2:
Ethnographic Record
Section 3:
Section 4:
Political Instrument
Section 5:
Section 6:
Art & Craft
Section 7:
Biographies of Mapmakers & Artists Bibliography

Like architecture, cartography is where science and art meet; and, like art, maps reflect the age in which they are made. The papermaker's craft, like the engraver's art, the colorist's illumination and the printer's skill all contribute to the beauty of a map and enhance the cartographer's creation.

The decorative devices surrounding the titles of many of the maps included in this exhibition are known as cartouches. They provide visual stimulation and information. Sometimes cartouches serve political purposes as well. For example, in order to lure immigrants as well as wealthy patrons who invested in expeditions and missionary efforts in the Americas, early mapmakers embellished their work with images of abundant flora and fauna, mineral wealth, and peaceful Indians, thereby representing the New World as a lush, romantic land filled with exotic peoples and bountiful riches.

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Novus Orbis sive America Meridionalis et Septentrionalis
[The New World, or South and North America]

From Atlas Novus
Matthaus Seutter, mapmaker
Augsberg, c. 1730
Religion was a compelling motivation for European imperialism, and the opportunity to convert "heathen" Indians provided both a justification and means to conquer the indigenous peoples of the New World. Two Indians kneel reverently before a female figure representing Christianity, flanked on the right by an altar prepared for Holy Communion and on the left by Europeans at a dining table.

The lower cartouche portrays tranquil Indians surrounded by standard symbols representing the Americas. The seated figure wears a feathered headdress, armband, and skirt. A servant shades him from the sun with a baldachin (parasol), while others in the background and to the left harvest what appears to be sugarcane and tobacco. In the center background someone rests in a hammock suspended between two palm trees while another rows quietly out to sea. A pelican, a cockatiel, and whimsical flying fish, some sporting saw-like beaks, hover above the title. The latter creatures appear to be the artist's misconception of a sawfish.

The placement of the two scenes illustrating this work is significant. By depicting numerous symbols associated with Roman Catholicism above a scene of Indians, a subtle message is conveyed: European contact with Indians would yield vast spiritual riches in the form of Christian converts and benefit the indigenous people, who, because they did not practice a Christian faith, were "beneath" those who did.

Gift of Helen and Solis Seiferth


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Amplissimæ Regionis Mississipi Seu Provinciae Ludovicianae à R. P. Ludovico Hennepin Francisc Miss in America Septentrionali
[An Enhancement of the Mississippi Region and the Louisiana Provinces from R. P. Ludovico Hennepin, Franciscan Missionary in North America]

Io.[Johann] Bapt[ist] Homanno
Nuremberg, c. 1719
The title cartouche, topped with a bison head, represents the conversion of indigenous peoples to Christianity. A missionary holding a cross, followed by a musket-bearing European explorer, faces a nude male. This figure, depicted in the contrapposto position and with European facial features, looks more like a Roman statue than an Indian. The inset directly below shows Niagara Falls and animals that appear to be beavers.

The middle right inset features the coat of arms of the Company of the West. A man wearing Brazilian Indian attire and an Indian woman bearing her child in a cradle board flank a bison. The buffalo made a profound impression on Europeans. Numerous illustrations of it were made, all showing a shaggy ox-like animal because oxen, unlike the North American buffalo, were native to Europe. An opossum hangs above the buffalo. The bird seen below may be the artist's misconception of a pelican.

Although the maker of this map imitated Delisle's 1718 map, Homann's rendition covered a slightly larger area and placed New Orleans on the wrong side of the Mississippi River.

Loaned by Dr. and Mrs. E. Ralph Lupin


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Accurata delineatio celeberrimae Regionis Ludovicianae vel Gallice Louisiane ol. Cauad‘ et Floridae adpellatione in Septemtrionali America
[Precise Delineation of the Louisiana Region or French Louisiana, Canada and Florida in North America]
Matthæi Seutteri [Mattheus Seutter], mapmaker
Gottfr[ied] Rogg, delineator
M. Rheim, engraver
Augsberg, 1730
The "Mississippi Bubble" and the financial ruin it caused for many Europeans is illustrated by images surrounding the title cartouche of this map. The figures seen to the left symbolize the investors' initial hopes and aspirations, while those to the right represent the disastrous outcome of John Law's scheme.

The winged female figure situated above the scene, a personification of Fame, holds a trumpet with a banner that announces, "Gold is second." Beneath her, a second female representation holds a cornucopia from which fabulous riches flow in the direction of hopeful investors. The banner above her reminds the reader that "boldness brings fortune." The investors are seen purchasing stock in the Company of the Indies from two airborne cherubim and a standing female figure. The banner above this latter figure asks, "What is hope?" Pictured bottom, left, are two seated cherubim trimming shares of stock for sale.

A cherub holding an empty purse hovers above the people to the right, who appear to be in great distress. One distraught individual prepares to commit suicide by falling onto a sword. Two putti below, right, blow bubbles, perhaps a reference to the "Mississippi bubble" or a representation of fleeting hope.

Loaned by Dr. and Mrs. E. Ralph Lupin


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America Septentrionalis, Novissima America Meridionalis accuratissima
[The Latest and Most Accurate [map] of North and South America]

P[ieter] Schenk
Amsterdam, c. 1690
The images illuminating this map represent the Americas and Europe. In the upper left scene, which represents Europe, the figure on the bottom left personifies a river god; the figure behind him may portray mineral wealth, as he appears to hold smelting implements. Two European explorers, one with a globe tucked under his arm, stand to left of the large base bearing the words "North America." On top of this base is an altar-like construction bearing four figures possibly symbolizing America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

At the bottom, left, the Americas are represented by the Indian figures surrounding the words "South America." Dressed in feather crowns, they are surrounded by common New World symbols: an elongated pipe, a quiver filled with arrows, and a llama. Natives rest in a hammock suspended within a watchtower supported by four palm trees.

Gift of Helen and Solis Seiferth