Talk : The Great World Atlas

Lions Club Sliema

Wednesday, 18th May 2022 begins at 19.00 sharp and ends at 19.30 at the
The Imperial

The Great World Atlas by Joan Barwell

Joan Barnwell, from Ireland, will introduce The Greatest Atlas Ever Published – the Atlas Maior – which was published in Amsterdam in 1662.

This talk about art, travel and discovery in the 17th Century.

Joan Barnewell from The Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin gave us a presentation on The Atlas Maior which was published by Joan Bleau in Amsterdam in 1662.
Joan spoke about 17th century printing and map-making during the Dutch golden age of exploration and she showed us some really beautiful hand painted maps which are true works of art.  They were decorated showing peoples of the regions and their dress, animals, flora and fauna, ships and their flags and bird’s eye views of cities –  and included were some lovely maps of Malta, Gozo and Valletta which were printed during the reign of Grandmaster Cotoner. 
Joan ended her talk by showing paintings by two great artists of the Dutch golden age, de Hooch and Vermeer, which included maps from the Atlas Maior.  These highlighted the importance, not just of exploration and trade, but also the role these maps played as a status symbol in Dutch society.
The Atlas Maior was considered so prestigious that it was presented to royalty and foreign embassies as a symbol of the artistic, intellectual and commercial power of the Netherlands.  It is a truly remarkable production and the maps are a real feast for the eye, so it is not difficult to see why it is referred to as The Greatest Atlas Ever Published !


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