Leen Helmink Antique Maps & Atlases


Ruscelli / Gastaldi - Schonladia Nuova

Certificate of Authentication

This is to certify that the item illustrated and described below is a genuine and
original antique map or print that was published on or near the given date.

Dr Leendert Helmink, Ph.D.

Antique map of Scandinavia by Ruscelli / Gastaldi

Girolamo Ruscelli

First Published

Venice, 1561

This edition

1562 first state


18.0 x 24.7 cms


Copper engraving

Stock number





One of the earliest obtainable modern maps of Scandinavia, designed after the much rarer 1548 Gastaldi miniature map.

This spectacular and inaccurate map stretches from Lithuania to Greenland. Pytheas' legendary Thule is shown and Greenland (North of Mare Congelatum or "frozen sea") is connected to Scandinavia.

First state, first copperplate with the imprint of the copperplate running of the top of the sheet (in the first state the maps were printed two by two on one large copperplate, the sheets were then cut after printing. In the second state the copperplate is cut in two, resulting in a platemark also on top of the page. From 1574 onwards, a second pate is used).

Strong and even imprint of the copperplate. White paper, with wide margins all around. No restorations or imperfections. An excellent collector's example of this important map.

Girolamo Ruscelli (1504-1566)

Girolamo Ruscelli (1504 Viterbo -1566 Venice), an Italian Alchemist, Physician and cartographer, was editor of a revised and expanded Italian edition of Ptolemy's 'Geographia', published as 'La Geografia di Claudio Tolomeo. The newly engraved maps were based, generally, on those compiled by Giacomo Gastaldi for the Venice miniature atlas edition of 1548.

Ruscelli's atlas was issued several times between 1561 and 1599 by the following publishers

- Venice, Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1561
- Venice, Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1562
- Venice, G. Zileti, 1564
- Venice, G. Zileti, 1574
- Venice, Heirs of Melchior Sessa, 1598-99

The Ruscelli and Gastaldi atlases were the most comprehensive atlases produced between Martin Waldseemüller's 'Geographia' of 1513, and Abraham Ortelius 'Theatrum' of 1570. The significance of the Gastaldi and Ruscelli atlases cannot be overestimated. They defined the known geography of the world for decades. These atlases also reintroduced the use of copper engraving into the service of cartography, which was dominated by woodcut printing after several not very succesful attempts to print from copper in the 15th century. The Gastaldi and Ruscelli atlases proved that maps could be beautifully engraved on copper. As it was a harder material than wood, it was harder to engrave but also gave the ability to render much more detail. The Gastaldi and Ruscelli atlases marked a turning point in the history of cartography, from then on the majority of cartographic works used this medium.

"Ruscelli was editor of a revised and expanded edition of Ptolemy's Geographia which was issued in Venice several times between 1561 and the end of the century.

The newly angraved maps were based, generally, on those compiled by Giacomo Gastaldi for the Venice edition of 1548."

(Moreland & Bannister).