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The Vision of the City in the Mind’s Eye, 12501700

Michael A. Vuksta

Contents of Curriculum Unit 86.03.07:

To Guide Entry

How To Use This Unit

The unit described here can be used by itself or as the core of a more extended unit on the vision of the city in the Renaissance. The two sections of this unit, “Origins” and “London: A Portrait,” present complete slides, commentaries, and activities relating to the mapping of cities and to the ideas and artistic problems mapping implies. A list of topics which are relevant to developing a comprehensive image of the ‘Renaissance City’ appears at the back of this essay.

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. . . from the Renaissance on, the physical city, more than any other instrument, has been the locus for activity in the many areas in which men choose to act. . . . cities have been the instruments that men have built to achieve the good life and to participate in diverse activities. . . .

The citizen makes works of art, he participates in institutionalized political and religious activities, and he speculates about the nature and character of art, institutions, politics, and religion.

Carroll William Westfall

In This Most Perfect Paradise

The city is a complex cultural artifact. Any discussion of its representation in words and images will prove to be equally complex. When one has selected as one’s temporal parameters a span of five centuries, the task might seem impossible. Furthermore, if the selection of images and descriptions draws from such diverse cultures as the English, the Italian, and the Dutch, one might easily conclude that this essay raises more questions than it might possibly answer. But if the purpose is to expand and heighten the students’ awareness of the facts that the eye and the mind are not exclusive and independent operators and that the making of objects symbolic of the broader cultural context is part of the experience of ‘the city’, then one welcomes the variety of images encountered in this unit.

Having hinted at the difficulties that may be submerged in the unit which follows, I would propose that there is also a powerful attraction here. I have created this unit for use in a studio photography/visual arts course in which the viewing of artworks is an exercise and a study in ways of seeing which precedes the creation of expressive objects by the students themselves. The appeal to the teacher is that there is a great deal of visual material reviewed and catalogued in this unit. While one might disagree with the speculations in which this essay engages, the slides, activities, and bibliography are in themselves useful for other adaptations. However, if he/she shares my curiosity for ‘the city’, he/she may find the way partially charted.

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I. Words

Success in using a map, then, is in a large measure determined by the congruence of the map with the user.

Southworth and Southworth


In my preface I used the word, “representation”. I would like to clarify my own understanding and use of this term. To do this, I call attention to the Greek word from which our suffix “graph” is derived. It has meant: “to write”, “to draw”, “to record”, “to mark”, and “to scratch”. “Representation” will, therefore, refer to both visual and verbal records of the past. This will allow me to select from a greater variety of materials which might otherwise be excluded if one were to understand “representation” as conforming to that mode of visual recording that is both “realistic” and “natural”.

In the discourse which follows, the words “map” and “view” refer to two specific modes of “picturing” (or “imaging”) that are respectively, “schematic” (referring to marks on a twodimensional surface) and “realisticpictorial” (referring to visual arrays which resemble threedimensional, perceptual mass, volume, and space—even if that space is not unified and optically correct).

II. Imagination

. . .in The City in History (Lewis Mumford stated) that the Renaissance city does not exist, or rather that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there were no cities which may be called Renaissance in the same way that Siena may be classed as Medieval or Rome as Baroque.

Giulio C. Argan

The Renaissance City

What I propose to examine is not the history of the art of the Renaissance, nor the evolution of a unified pictorial space. It is also not the development of the science of cartography or city planning. Although all of these topics have relevance to the period and to the cultures to which this study is addessed, what I will be investigating is the visual culture(*) and to some extent the literary culture of the Renaissance city.

My intention is to present a visual impression of Renaissance imagery that will act as a lents or filter through which one might, in turn, “picture” a city. It is my reading of Mumford that “the Renaissance city” is a product of the mind. And that this mind shares in a classical conception of the city that does not clearly separate value from fact.1 By using this imagery of the city, I would hope that a conception of the Renaissance city that is multiple, ambiguous, complex, and most certainly a product of the creative imagination will emerge. This plurality is inherent in such a vast instrument as the city. The curriculum, taken as a whole, is not a study of facts, but a study of representations. Finally, any precise definition of a Renaissance city is elusive, unique, and selfexpressive.

To illustrate the interaction between facts and values, eye and mind, I focus my discussion of images on two basic categories. The first is an analysis of the graphic elements employed in the making of the image. These elements are numerous and they are articulated in a variety of ways: symbols, words, patterns, borders, elevation, ground plan, and perspective drawing. Each element does not appear in every image and different emphasis is given to each element in a particular composition. To use a modern aesthetic term, the result of this employment of graphic means produces a “collage”. Second, the individual graphic elements and their overall effect are examined for their potential cultural implications. Both these categories may not be relevant to each and every composition; while, in others, they may converge in a way that makes their distinctions dimly perceptible.

* I borrow this term from Svetlana Alpers, who in turn credits Michael Baxandall for the coining of “visual culture”, see Alpers’ The Art of Describing.

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1.The Sign
In the earliest handwriting that we can read, hieroglyphic, the ideogram meaning “city” consists of a cross enclosed in acircle. The cross represents the convergence of roads which bring in and redistribute men, merchandise, and ideas. This convergence entails a quickening of communication. . . . The circle, in the hieroglyph, indicates a moat or a wall. This need not be materially erected so long as it is morally present to keep the citizens together, sheltered from the cold, wide world, conscious of belonging to a unique team. . . communication plus togetherness, or, a special aptitude for change combined with a peculiar feeling of identity: is not this the essence of the city.

Robert S. Lopez

The Crossroads Within the Wall

Simply stated, we have a record of the essential characteristics of the city: a graphic symbol that represents both static and dynamic forces. To summarize Mumford, the city is both container and magnet. (Slide #1).

Activity # 1

The City of OX
The teacher can point out that the two basic elements of the hieroglyph are two letters (or two geometric shapes), O and X, (the latter may be seen as a plus sign (+) if it is rotated fortyfive degrees). The students can then create their own symbols for a city from other letters of the alphabet (or geometric shapes). These characters may then be superimposed over each other or even arranged in a series. The teacher should encourage the students to rotate the letters to explore their possibilities. Corporate logotypes and other trademarks make excellent examples for this activity.

The activity can be followed up by a discussion, evaluating the students’ creations, focusing it upon the degree to which their symbols meet the essential characteristics of communication/change and protection/identity.

2.The Heavenly City and The City of Man
This graphic symbol survives in Medieval diagrams of the city of Jerusalem and in schematizations of the order of the world. In these representations of Jerusalem, the roads multiply and the wall thickens and is seen in elevation. Individual stones are delineated along with a new feature, the city’s gates. These graphic additions may suggest that the wall is most certainly present. In general, “the celestial city seems to have come down on earth quite literally because abstract images are slowly replaced by realistic interpretations.”2 Theological considerations play a role within these “maps”. Important locations and buildings are shown in elevation. Human figures have also entered the representation, but as one can see, they remain outside the walls of the city. (Slides #2 and #3.)

Latin is the language of the schemes that organize the entire known world. The circle is composed of more parts with a greater variety of shapes. The four directions are added to the outer perimeter, with the East typically appearing at the top. Theological considerations are equally privileged with the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, and the serpent located at the uppermost section inside the circle. In some diagrams the ocean surrounds the world and bodies of water are the chief means of communication. In the last two examples, built form and human and mythological figures form a schematized landscape. The ornamental and symbolic (rather than the descriptive and realistic) functions predominate and patterned borders arise to fix the sphere of the known universe of representation. (Slides #’s 4,5,6,7,and 8.)

3.The City in The World
The Latin word mappa originally meant signal cloth, napkin, or towel—probably because early portable maps were drawn on cloth and used as signals or guides for armies moving across unknown terrain. In medieval times, the word mundi, “world”, was added to form mappa mundi. . .

Southworth and Southworth


The world maps of the Middle Ages were almost entirely devoid of scientific value. Indeed at first glance, they seem completely fanciful. Their arrangement of the countries and continents of the world is grossly incorrect,. . .Empirical accuracy was evidently no concern of the makers of the mappaemundi; but if they were indifferent to objective relations among the earth’s known points, they were very much concerned with man’s affective experience of the world, and this they represented by certain conventional spatial relations.

Joan Gadol

Leon Battista Alberti

Although the amount of information in these maps has increased and the shapes have become even more variegated, the graphic conventions in these mappaemundi are similar to those in the previous diagrams. Theological considerations once again dictate that the Garden of Eden appear at the top in a circle that is detached from the rest of the land mass. Jerusalem, also a geometric circle (or a square), lies in the center of the mappaemundi. God, heaven, and hell are drawn in profile or frontal views along with representations of real and mythical beasts. Special places are marked by real and fanciful figures rather than by items of accumulated fact. The Hereford Map has expanded the use of the decorative border to include drawings of figures and textual information. The scene in the border at the top of the map appears to be that of the Last Judgment. In general, the graphic articulation has not changed a great deal but has only multiplied. The increase in textual information suggests an attempt to combine visual and verbal representations in a narrative array. (Slides #9 and #10.)

Having surveyed the legacy of Medieval mapping techniques, we may anticipate some images of the Renaissance City.

Activity #2

Memory Maps
The childlike spatial relations of these mappaemundi are suggestive of dreamscapes. This characteristic can be used to full advantage in having the student create memory maps of their neighborhood or of their memories of the entire city. They can be executed in a circle of varying sizes depending on the amount of information a child is able to recall. In making a memory map of the city, the class as a whole can make a list of places and each of them can work to place them on his/her “map”. (This can also make for an exciting group activity while working on very large surfaces.) If students have traveled great distances, the boundaries of the maps can be extended to include state and national locations.

A useful corollary to performing this as a group activity is that students can create verbal descriptions that other students can sketch from. Photographs can be used to supplement this activity, but in order to retain the element of a memory map, they should not be present during the final act of picture-making.

Like these prospective memory maps the mappaemundi were often drawn from verbal accounts of travelers.

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London: A Portrait

Nothing better illustrates than prose description the extent to which TudorStuart London was a place of the imagination. . . . It would not be going too far to say that Tudor-Stuart descriptions of London reveal that a major corollary of the Renaissance discovery of man was the discovery of the city.

Lawrence Manley

London in the Age of Shakespeare

1.The Path to the City
Yet despite diversity of physical expression all maps are basically representations of a set of spatial and temporal relationships. A map’s essential elements are few. Almost without exception maps communicate information about locations and connections. Locations and their connections have attributes that may be the quantity or quality of certain variables, or their change over time. These variables may be objective or measurable,. . . (or) subjective, such as personal interpretations of scenic appeal.

Southworth and Southworth


It is a long way from the center of the world to London (with a detour via Rome), but the selection of this map of a British monk allows for the addition of two different examples for the categories mentioned above, (i.e., the analysis of graphic elements andtheir culturalexpressive function). While the graphic themselves are barely different, they are utilized for an entirely new function, as a guide to the traveler. The religious function has not been completely lost in this “map”. Phillipa Glanville notes that, “the itinerary was prepared to illustrate (Matthew) Paris’s account of the papal offer offer of the Sicilian crown to Richard of Cornwall in 1252.”3 The “cross” of the original ideogram has become the structuring element, it has been divided from its crossmember and elongated into a single path of communication. Another convention of the road map is introduced in this view with the “distance between stoppingplaces” indicated. This distance is spatiotemporal, described as “a comfortable day’s travelling.” The “thumbnail sketch” of the city of London clearly identifies specific buildings. As early as 1252, St. Paul’s, The Tower, and the Thames are on the route to becoming emblematic of the entire city.

The circle element of the original hieroglyph survives as an elevated section of the city wall with individual stones articulated to stress built form. (Slide #11.)

John Ogilby’s map of the road from London to St. Alban’s is included here to demonstrate the persistence of certain mapping conventions over a long period of time. Distance in miles has replaced the spatiotemporal “day’s journey” in this map of 1675. Other graphic means of representation remain varied with bridges appearing in plan, landscape features are indicated in elevation, while buildings are displayed in an oblique rudimentary perspectival manner. Religious buildings are utilized to represent whole towns. The city of London emerges from the Thames as an emanation of dense built form blackening the lower part of the left panel. Since all of these representations remain inconsistent and abstract, it is not surprising to find directional compasses on all three of the panels to strengthen the map’s most practical function. Without them it would be an uncertain guide for travel. (Slide # 12.)

Activity #3

Road Maps
One may have anticipated the activity designed for this part of the unit. Students can create a variety of itinerary maps from one location to another: from home to school; or from home to a relative’s or friend’s house. As in the previous activity, a list of specific geographic and architectural features should be observed and, if possible, investigated for their functions. Copies of existing New Haven maps may be used to aid the student. They can be traced from, cut out and pasted together to show a straight line of travel. Other features, such as personal or local names for places can be written in or symbols for them drawn in. Photographs from newspapers and magazines can be added.

When dealing with a quattrocento city, the verbal material was used as a gloss on the visual, and the visual material was accepted as a gloss on the verbal, as well as an independent bearer of meaning. . .

Carroll William Westfall

In This Most Perfect Paradise

The first printed view of London is not a picture of anything in reality. The de Worde woodcut of 1497 operates in very much the same way as the hieroglyph. This abstract image is symbolic for the city; in fact, in the text in which it appeared this same view was used to represent other cities. The difference from the original ideogram is that the inscribed image is no longer viewed in plan as if from directly above the city. This symbol is drawn from an elevation of built form within the enclosing wall. It is as if the surface of the city was tilted upward to create a new template ready to receive new and different symbolic content.

The significance of built form as a major feature for representing the city can no longer be ignored. However, the buildings in this symbol are more representative of Medieval Gothic architecture than with buildings which have come to be recognized as Renaissance architecture. In fact, London had no classically inspired buildings until about 1619. What is important to understand is that whatever emerges as the “Renaissance City” will do so in the context of the Middle Age precedent, not in a clear plain of Renaissance humanist expansiveness. Contrary to what might be expected of a view of a Renaissance city, the pictorial space is not optically correct. The view in the de Worde woodcut is more of a combination of views. Buildings are viewed from above and below at the same time. The overall effect is one of walking in the city with our heads turning in different directions. The city is almost tactilely perceived as protruding sculptural volume. The eye is both contained by the walls and planes of the buildings and elevated by the rising towers of palace and cathedral. Although which specific types of buildings are towered and spired remains anonymous. (Slide #13.)

Activity #4

Ten Favorite Buildings
Having discovered that buildings are capable of symbolizing the city students can select their favorite buildings either in their neighborhood or in downtown New Haven. They can draw or photograph them separately then arrange them together in a single collage or composite view of built form that is emblematic of the city or neighborhood.

3.The City Mapped
The town itself stretches from East to West and is three miles in circumference. However, its suburbs are so large that they greatly increase its circuit. . . .Throughout the town are to be seen many workshops of craftsmen in all sorts of mechanical arts, to such an extent that there is hardly a street that is not graced by some shop or the like. This makes the town exceedingly prosperous and wellstocked, as well as having the immediate effect of adding to its splendour.

(Andreas Franciscus, 1497)

from Lawrence Manley, ed.

London in the Age of Shakespeare

In eighty years, what was unavailable to the printer of 1497 becomes commonplace to the sixteenth century mapmakers’ image of London. The composite planview of London from Braun and Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum of 1572 provides us with an image that corresponds to that of Franciscus’s text. The wall, such a prominent and persistent feature in all the previous representations of London, is barely visible amid the sprawling ganglia of roads. Built form is reduced in scale and of a primitive oblique perspectival nature. Specific buildings, though minute, have garnished recognizable visual detail. The river has emerged as a prominent feature in the representation of London; it cuts a broad horizontal swath across the center of themap. The articulation of the landscape outside the city is rudimentary, although some attention appears to be given to the shadows cast by these objects. This connection of city with the countryside is a new feature in the representation of London.

With the reduction in significance of built form, new graphic elements which bear symbolic importance are introduced into the planview. The coat of arms of the city of London, a red cross with a sword in a field of white, and the coat of arms of England appear in the upper portion of the picture. Along the bottom and in the center of the map there are four stylishly dressed human figures strolling on a hillside outside the city proper. Their placement in the foreground provides the viewer’s eyes with a welcoming gesture by which he may enter the frame. Judging from the numerous boats and ships sailing on the Thames, one can speculate that these hillside strollers share in the growth and prosperity arising from the importance of the port of London. As if not to be ignored in this display of human growth and expansion, the “signatures” of the guild artists who prepared this copperplate print is ornately framed in illusory metal brackets in the lower right hand corner of the view. In the left corner, similarly framed, is an explanation of the view and a description of the city.

These new graphic elements provide a picture of a particular place, not a mere collection of emblematic buildings. Although some of these elements continue to bear symbolic content, the print is more of a description of the city of London. As if to emphasize the changing role of the mapmaker’s craft, the print was accompanied by a prose description which supplemented the image with imiportant quantitative information about the city’s location, a brief summary of its origin, and a description of its method of government. (Slide #14.)

John Norden’s planview of 1593 employs similar representational conventions as the Braun and Hogenberg print. A significant feature is the display of the coats of arms of the twelve most important guilds of the city of London. They are arranged to form the border on the left and the right of the map. Not since theological imagery dominated medieval diagrams and maps has there been a graphic element which bears such overt social and political significance. Along the lower edge the border is made up of a numbered legend identifying particular places and streets in the map. A final addition to this planview is the scale bar with proportional divider. This allusion to the surveyor’s craft confirms the increasing desire for accurate quantitative information. However, this reference to scientific accuracy must not be overemphasized. One contemporary scholar has warned that, “The details of the map cannot be trusted.”4 (Slide #15.)

Activity #5

Personal Coats of Arms
Students can create their own coats of arms, or even design one for the school or some other group to which they belong.

4.Transition: A Bird’s Eye View
London, the epitome or breviary of all Britain, the seat of the British Empire, and the king of England’s chamber, . . . the most mild merchant, as one would say, of all things that the world doth yield;. . .able to entertain the greatest ships that be, . . .

It is adorned everywhere with churches, that religion and godliness seem to have made a choice of their residence herein.

(William Camden, 1586/1610)

from Lawrence Manley, ed.

London in the Age of Shakespeare

It is not without purpose that I have joined this description, filled with superlatives, with a view of London by the Rouge Dragon in the College of Heralds, William Smith. Perhap, it is not coincidental that Smith, being a specialist in coats of arms, has recorded his view from a vantage point in Southwark. This viewpoint will bear almost emblematic power in the views of London in the next section of this study. Future views and panoramas will claim this same vista.

Smith has slightly tilted the plane of the city of London which appears above the river. Tilting upward and toward the viewer, the elevations of buildings once more becomes descriptive of the city. Unlike the buildings which appear in the de Worde woodcut of 1497, Smith’s buildings are indentifiable with real buildings. Important buildings are larger in scale and show identifable details, while others are uniform and anonymous. Except for those streets which are visible in the Southwark, all others seem to have vanished. Smith’s view seems to have combined the emblematic built form of the de Worde print and the mapping information of Norden to arrive at this most symbolic view. As if to substantiate this point, the coats of arms float freely and prominently in a clear and empty plane of sky, rather than superimposed in the land mass. (Slide #16.)

5.The City Viewed.
Linear perspective has always been credited with establishing a new standard of ‘realism’ in picture making, but its effects upon the seeing process itself have not been sufficiently emphasized. I think it is possible to show not only that the advent of linear perspective was important to art, but also important to the way people began to ‘structure’ the physical world in the mind’s eye.

Samuel Y. Edgerton , Jr.

“Florentine interest in Ptolemaic

Cartography. . .”, J.S.A.H., Vol. XXXIII

I have reserved the discussion of the particular importance of linear perspective for another section of the curriculum.* I would just make mention here that it becomes the major means of graphic display for the imagemakers of the city. However, it is still only one of the graphic means used in representing a city. While the built form of the city has become adjusted to an optically corrected mathematical perspective, other forms of graphic expression are super imposed on this image. Words are still inscribed on the surface of the prints and on the surfaces within the pictorial space itself.

*See list of topics at the back of this essay.

Norden’s Civitas Londini, which approaches an optically correct view (except for the fact that it is as if it were viewed from a wide angle lens), is still very much a composite picture with mapping still playing a significant role in the representation. Two planar maps are inset into the land mass at Southwark. One is framed and seperated from the rest of the view, but the other one calls the viewer’s attention to the inscribed surface by peeling a portion of it away to reveal a detail of Westminster. The cartouche with inscription at the center of the lower portion of the picture floats in the air between the viewer’s eyes and the Southwark bank. The coats of arms appear in a more elaborate display, combining ornament and atmosphere. If this cluster of images, words, frames, and figures is not blurred enough, a border of men and horses spans the entire width of the picture below the view. The Cavalcade of the Lord Mayor’s Show has replaced the anonymous figures of Braun and Hogenberg and the collective symbols of the guilds as the bearer of sociocultural meaning. This is a London of time and place. The parade marks a specific event and the prosperous city and port appears on the curved horizon, as if sitting on top of the world. (Slide #17.)

In the final three views of Visscher, Merian, and Hollar the twodimensional grid of the map has been completely tilted up into a window of perspectival space. As the viewpoint descends from the previously high point of Norden, the horizon gets lower and longer, achieving a skylinelike impression. The Thames takes up increasingly more space until in Hollar’s panorama it is the visual element by which the viewer enters, lingers, and leaves the frame. The sky has also become increasingly prominent and displays greater indications of atmosphere. Yet, it remains an ethereal space, becoming the locus for cartouches, poetry, the familiar coat of arms, cherubs and other mythical figures.

The city has become a visual attraction and a paramount subject for the artist’s display of virtuosity and vision. He casts his “realistic” perspective view from a point high in that ethereal and poetic space, having rid himself of the walls that divided eye and brain and hand. Gone is the containing walls of the city. The eye has opened to a broad and sweeping vision. The artist has set him/herself on a road of certain vision crossed, as it were, with an equally uncertain purpose. The abstract collective symbol has become transformed into the “natural” individual ideal. (Slides #18, 19, & 20.)

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She is grown so great I am almost afraid to meddle with her. She’s certainly a great world, there are so many little worlds in her. She is the great beehive of Chistendom, I am sure of England. . . .She is the countrymen’s labyrinth; he can find many things in it, but many times loseth himself. He thinks her to be bigger than heaven, for there are but twelve celestial signs there, and he knows them all very well, but here there are thousands that he wonders at. Well, she is glory to her prince, a common gain to all her inhabitants, a wonder to strangers, an head to the kingdom, the nursery of sciences, and I wish her to be as good as great.

(Donald Lupton, 1632)

from Lawrence Manley, ed.

London in the Age of Shakespeare

From the simple coincidence of two marks, to the myriad of details in Hollar’s drawing, the means for representing the city has become complex. And yet, the essence of that symbol is not lost in the vista of Hollar. Imagine that symbol tilted up and slightly toward the viewer and the arc of Hollar’s curved panorama is but an arc of that enclosing circle. Not as a sealed vessel, but open, as a cup receiving the communication and change that the city is certain to offer. And the roads that cross here are bridge and river, connecting the city and its inhabitants to the nation and the world.

From convention to invention the graphic means for representing the city have apparently changed, but they have always framed a vision that is necessarily unique and expressive. As in a child’s game of “telephone”*, when a word is quietly and slowly altered as it is passed from ear to ear, so too, will that vision (passing from eye to eye, and) thoughtfully shared, become just as necessarily changed.

* I must acknowledge the contemporary poet John Ashbery for the invention of this metaphor in regards to Renaissance imagery. See SelfPortrait—in a Convex Mirror.

Activity #6

NineSquare (92) Variations

(figure available in print form)
I have selected a composite planview made by John Speed in 1611 as ah example for this activity. I have also included two Dutch maps which incorporate perspective views into their borders. I will leave the discussion of these maps for another part of this course,* noting only what Svetlana Alpers concluded in The Art of Describing: “Astronomy, world history, city views, costumes, flora, and fauna, come to be clustered in images and words around the center offered by the map. The reach of mapping extended along with the role of pictures, time and again the distinctions between measuring, recording, and picturing were blurred.”

The map by Speed contains nine separate areas of information. Two of these areas are plan views of London and Westminster, appearing much like the planviews that have already been discussed. Two other areas display oblique perpectival views of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s. Another rectangle contains the image of an open book with verbal histories of these two landmarks. Another large rectangular area is reserved for the title. The largest portion of the picture is taken up by a map of the entire county of Middlesex with symbolic drawings in the countryside. Large towns appear as walled enclosures. London is marked by its familiar concentration of built form. The smallest space is reserved for an ornate cartouche bearing the artist’s image and name. The last space to consider contains an open book that includes the following inscription discussing some of the artistic problems of mapping and picturing (I have transcribed the peculiar English into a more familiar spelling):

The large circuit with multitude of streets besides the beautiful and stately buildings in this fair and most famous city LONDON: can no wise be demonstrated in so little compass, as here I am enforced to show. But as Hercules his body might be measured by his one foot, and the universal globe drawn in a small circle: So in this rather conceit the magnificence thereof in mind (?), then curiously seek satisfaction, beauty, and rich blessing both for soil and sea equals (if not exceeds) any city under Heaven. The true plot whereof I purposely reserve to a further leisure and larger scale.

* See list of topics at the back of this essay.

I began this essay by acknowledging that the city was a complex artifact. Furthermore, I had suggested that the representation of it is necessarily unique, abstract, and potentially selfexpressive. With this in mind, the final activity will combine those images and graphic elements and techniques studied in earlier parts of this unit to produce a composite, collage map of the city of New Haven. In place of perspective drawings one can substitute original photographs. The selection of particular maps to use as the central element of the composition will be left to the teachers own discretion and resources. (A list of some historical maps appears in the back of this essay under New Haven.) Keep it in mind that the maps can be copied or traced and additional features and graphic elements can be added to them. This project lends itself to group work in which students are given responsibility for specific elements and types of information. A partial list follows:

buildings and landmarks;
landscape features;
particular views, of (or from) East and West Rock;
city agencies’ or corporate and commercial logos;
personal, class, family and school coats of arms;
a scale bar;
directional compass;
written descriptions, both prose and poetry;
place name inscriptions;
pictures of people;
costume, dress, or other consumer products;
insets of areas and neighborhoods;
mythical figures and animals, check architectural ornament, too;
inset of downtown and the Green;
for other ideas see Maps by Southworth and Southworth listed in the bibliography at the back of this essay. Have fun; and in closing I advise that:

It is significant that the final product is seldom aesthetically unified. The obvious visual disjuncture between the map and its accompanying imagery is the result of a conceptual confusion stemming from the Renaissance tradition of cartographic world maps. Originally, no distinction had been made between the map and the historical commentary included within its boundaries. Rather they were combined in a single image of comprehensive import, and this composite map was also intended to supplement an encyclopedic text. In other words, these early “maps” were considered to be pictures, or visual summations of knowledge about the universe contained in the text.5

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The following books have been useful in forming my opinions and as sources of images from which I gleaned my slides:

Alpers, Svetlana. The Art of Describing, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 1983.

Slide #23—Fig. 79 Map of Africa in William Jansz. Blaeu, World Atlas (1630). Page 135.

Argan, Giulio C. The Renaissance City, George Brasiller, New York, N.Y., 1964.

Braun, Georg and Hogenberg, Fritz. Old European Cities, maps and texts from Civitates Orbis Terrarum; Thames and Hudson, London: 1965.

Slide #14—Map of London Page 66 & 67.

Edgerton, Samuel Y., Jr. “Florentine Interest in Ptolemaic Cartography as a Background for Renaissance Painting, Architecture, and the Discovery of America”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, Dec. 1974, pp. 275292.

____________________. The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective, Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1975.

Foakes, R.A. Illustrations of the English Stage 15801642, Scolar Press, London, 1985.

Slide #15—No.4 map of London, by John Norden, from Speculum Britannicae. Page 6.

Slide #19—No.15 Matthias Merian, view of London Page 27.

Gadol, Joan. Leon Battista Alberti, Universal Man of the Renaissance. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago Ill., 1969.

Slide #10—Fig. 47 the Hereford World Map, 127683 Page 159.

Glanville, Phillipa. London in Maps, The Connoisseur, London, 1972.

Slide #13—The earliest printed view of London, woodcut by W. deWorde, Westminster, 1497. Page 16.

Slide #11—Plate 1. Section of an itinerary from London to Rome by Matthew Paris, c. 1252. Page 73.

Slide #16—Plate 5. Bird’seye view of London from the Particular Description of England by William Smith; 1588. Page 80.

Slide #12—The road from London to St. Albans from Brittania. . .Principal Roads Thereof by John Ogilby,1675. Page 97.

Haak, Bob. The Golden Age, Dutch Painting of the Seventeenth Century, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1984.

Slide #22—Fig. 3 Abraham Goos, Map of the Seventeen Provinces 1621. Page 15.

Hyde, Ralph. Gilded Scenes and Shining Prospects, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT., 1985. Exhibition Catalogue.

Slide #17—No. 4 Civitas Londini: John Norden, 1600. Page 43.

Slide #18—No. 5 London, C. J. Visscher, 1616. Page 44 & 45.

Slide #20—No. 10 London, Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. Page 50 & 51.

Lopez, Robert S. “The Crossroads Within the Wall”, in Handlin, Oscar and Buchard, John. The Historian and the City, The MIT Press and Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1963.

Manley, Lawrence, ed., London in the Age of Shakespeare: An Anthology, Croom Helm, 1986.

Mumford, Lewis. The City in History, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, N.Y., 1961.

Rosenau, Helen. The Ideal City, Third ed., Methuen and Co. Ltd., New York, N.Y., 1983.

Slide #2—Fig. 17 Jerusalem, drawing from a 12th century Passionale. Page 31.

Schulz, Juergen. “Jacopo de Barbari’s View of Venice: Mapmaking, City Views and Moralized Geography Before the Year 1500.”, Art Bulletin, Vol. LX, No. 3, Sept. 1978, pp. 425474.

Slide #9—Fig.15 Anonymous, Mappamundi, ca. 1235-1250, brush, colored washes, and body colors in parchment. Page 451.

Slide #3—Fig. 18 Anonymous, situs Jerusalem, after 1164, brush and wash on parchment.

Southworth, Michael and Susan. Maps, LittleBrown and company, Boston, Mass., 1982.

Slide #5—Fig. 1.4 Illuminated TinO map Page 14.

Slide #4—Fig. 2.9A Zacharias, Orbis frevarium, Florence,1493. Page 26.

Slide #7—Fig. 2.9B Rectangular version, Beatus a Benedictine monk, A.D. 787. Page 26.

Slide #6—Fig. 2.9C from Ymago mundi of Pierre d’Ailly, Louvain, c.1483. Page 26.

Slide #8—Fig. 2.9D Rudimentum navitiorium, Lubeck, 1475. Page 27.

Stewart, T.C. The City as an Image of Man, Latimer Press, London,1970. Slide #1—Egyptian hieroglyph for a city or a town.

Strauss, Leo. The City and Man, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago Ill., 1964.

University of Michigan Museum of Art. Art a la Carte, Decorative Imagery in Maps, 16001800, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1979. Exhibition catalogue.

Westfall, Carroll William. In This Most Perfect Paradise, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pa., 1974.

Other books which have been used in forming my understanding of aesthetics, the Renaissance and cities are:

Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space, Beacon Press, Boston, Mass.,1964.

Cassirer, Ernst. The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Phihlosophy, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pa., 1963.

Langer, Susanne K. Feeling and Form, Scribner’s, New York, N.Y., 1953.

Saalman, Howard. Medieval Cities, George Braziller, New York, N.Y., 1968.

Ullman, Walter. Medieval Foundations of Renaissance Humanism, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977.

Ashbery, John. SelfPortrait in a Convex Mirror, The Viking Press, New York, N.Y., 1975.

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List of Topics, Slides and Sources for Expansion of Curriculum Unit

Where a source has been listed in the above bibliography only the name of the author appears with appropriate list of figures or plates.


Southworth and Southworth

Fig. 2.8 Ptolemy’s world Page 25.

Fig. 4.1 Panorama: Florence Page 62 & 63.

Gadol, Joan

Chapter 1. for an explanation of Alberti and perspective.

Chapter 4. on Renaissance cartography.

Fig. 49. View of Florence in a fresco of 1352. In the Loggia del Bigallo, Florence. Page 163. Compare this with the deWorde print of 1497!

Fig. 58 Plan of Imola by Leonardo da Vinci. Page 182.

Edgeerton, Samuel Y.,Jr. 1975.

Illustration VII4 Mappamundi, Ptolemy’s oikumene as illustrated in a late 14th century Greek edition of the Geographia.

Pinto, John A. “Origins and Development of the Ichnographic City Plan”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol.XXXV, No. 1, March, 1976, pp. 35-50.

Hartt, Frederick. History of Italian Renaissance Art, Second Edition, Harry N. Abrams, New York, N.Y., 1979.

Colorplate 14 and Figure 120. Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Allegory of Good Government: the Effects of Good Government in the City and the Country (portion). 133839. Fresco.

Salla della Pace, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena.

Figure 104. Simone Martini. Guidoriccio da Fogliano. 1328.

Fresco. Council Chamber, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena.

Colorplate 47. Perugino. Giving of the Keys to St.Peter.

1481. Fresco. Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome.

Colorplate 64. Raphael. Marriage of the Virgin. Panel. Brera Gallery, Milan.

Figure 449. Gentile Bellini. Procession of the Relic of the True Cross. 1496. Canvas. Accademia, Venice.

Beck, James H. Raphael, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1976. Colorplate 22. The School of Athens, 151011, Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican, Rome.

Argan, Giulio C.

Fig. 38: Florence at the end of the fifteenth century, print. Map with Chain.

Rasmussen, Steen Eiler. Towns and Buildings, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1951.

page 70—Plan of rooms depicted in “The School of Athens”.

—the sequence of rooms in the Villa Rotunda.

page 71—Andrea Palladio: Villa Rotunda, Vincenza, Sectional drawing.

page 23—Plans for ideal cities by Francesco Di Giorgio about 1500.

Links, J.G. Townscape Painting, B.T. Batsford, Ltd., London, 1972.

Figure 48—Ideal City, perhaps by Luciano Laurana, pp. 6465.

Figure 49—Ideal City, perhaps by Piero della Francesco.

Figure 64—The Piazza della Signoria, Florence, about 1500.

Argan, Giulio C.

Figure 80—Palmanova (in Fruili), a schematic plan, from Bertelli 1599.

Figure 81—Palmanova, airview.

Serlio, Sebastiano. The Book of Architecture, orig. publ. London,1611; Reissued 1970 by Benjamin Blan, Inc., Bronx, N.Y.

see Second Booke The Third Chapter Fol.25.)

Schulz, Juergen.

Fig. 1. Jacopo de Barbari, View of Venice, 1500, woodcut. pp. 426427.

Vitruvius, Marcus Pollio. Architecture, French Translation by Ian Martin, 1957. Republished by the Gregg Press Inc., Ridgewood, N.J., 1964.

page 77—Scene Tragique

page 78—Scene Comique

Rosenau, Helen.

Fig. 5—Vitruvius: town plan (from the 1511 edition) p.l4;

Fig. 6—Vitruvius: town plan (from the 1511 edition) p.l5;

Fig. 27—Filarete: Sforzinda in Landscape, p.46;

Fig. 28—Filarete: Sforzinda, p.47;

Fig. 37—Scamozzi: Ideal City, p.57;

Fig. 25—Vitruvius Teutsch: Diagram of the Windsby G.H. Rivius (1548).

Spencer, John R. Filarete’s Treatise on Architecture, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT., 1965. Vol.1—The Translation, Vol.2—The Facsimile.

Rasmussen, S.E.

page 24—Plan for an Ideal City—from Buonaiuto Lorini: “Della fortificatione libri cinque”. Venezia,1592.

____—Plan for an Ideal City—from Vincenzo Scamozzi: “Dell’ idea dell ‘architettura universale”. Venezia, 1615.

page 25—Palma Nuova founded 1593 from an engraving by Braun and Hogenberg.


Andrews, Charles M. (ed.), Famous Utopias, for text of Campanella’s City of the Sun, Tudor Publishing Co., New York, N.Y.

More, Thomas, Utopia, Edward Surtz, S.J., ed. Yale University Press, New Haven, Ct., 1964.

page ii—woodcut map of Utopia from the March 1518 edition.

Rosenau, Helen.

Fig. 36—Sir Thomas More: Utopia (frontispiece), p.56.


Alpers, Svetlana.

Fig. 62—Jan Vermeer, The Art of Painting, Detail, p. 120.

Haak, Bob.

Fig. 3 see main section of Bibliography.

Pops, Martin. Vermeer: Consciousness and the Chamber of Being, UMI Research Press, Ann Arbor, Mich. 1984.

Snow, Edward A. A Study of Vermeer, University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif., 1979.

Gowing, Lawrence. Vermeer, Faber and Faber, London, 1952.

Bianconi, Piero and Jacob, John. The Complete of Vermeer, Harry N. Abrams, New York, N.Y., 1967.

Plate XXXIII Woman with a Water Jug, Page 51.

Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Jan Vermeer, Harry N. Abrams, New York, N.Y., 1981.

Colorplate 7 Girl Reading a Letter At an Open Window, c. 1657. p. 77;

Colorplate 9 The Little Street, c.16578, p.81;

Colorplate 10 Officer and Laughing Girl, c.1658, p.83;

Colorplate 12 The Milk Maid, c. 1658, p. 87;

Colorplate 16 View of Delft, c.166061, p. 95;

Colorplate 21 Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, c. 166264, p. 105;

Colorplate 25 Woman with a Lute, c. 1664, p. 113;

Colorplate 26 Young Woman with a Water Jug, c.166465, p. 115;

Colorplate 33 The Allegory of Painting, c. 166667, p. 129;

Colorplate 37 The Astronomer, c. 1668, p.l37;

Colorplate 38 The Geographer, c. 1669, p. 139;

All of these paintings have maps in them or are a city or street view.

Rasmussen, S.E.

page 84—Delft, Oude Langendijk with the house in which Vermeer died.

page 85—Reconstruction of the room in which Vermeer painted his famous interiors.


Shumway, Floyd and Hegel, Richard, ed., New Haven: An Illustrated History, Windsor Publications, Woodland Hills, Calif., 1981.

page 17—The Brockett Map of 1641;

page 31—New Haven; Plan of town 1748;

page 33—New Haven Chronicle Masthead.


The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Art a la Carte,

illustration no. 12—map of New England, John Smith, 1635;

illustration no. 13—Novi Belgii, by Nicholas Visscher, 1685;

illustration no. 8—orbis Terrarum Novaet Accuratissima, c.1675.

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1.Even Alberti, one of the discoverers of mathematical perspective utilized his discovery in service of his faith. See Samuel Y. Edgerton, Jr. The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective, Basic Books, N.Y., N.Y., 1975, esp. Chapter II and pp. 5560.
2.Rosenau, Helen. The Ideal City, Methuen and Co., Ltd., N.Y.,N.Y., 1973.
3.Glanville, Phillipa, London in Maps, The Connoisseur, London,1972.
4.Foakes, R. A. Illustrations of the English Stage 15801642, Scholar Press, London, 1985.
5.The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Art a la Carte, Decorative Imagery in Maps, 16001800, exhibition catalog, 1979.

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