Margot McIlwain Nishimura, Deputy Director and Librarian, John Carter Brown Library. "Both Sides Now: Looking at the JCB’s Agnese Atlas from Different Perspectives."
This informal talk will take place in the MacMillan Reading Room, with display of important books. The talk will end at 5 p.m.
In the New York Times Magazine for April 18, 1999, Charles Johnson wrote about the oval world map of the JCB’s Agnese Atlas under the headline “Best View of the World.” Maybe not everyone agrees, but among the corpus of more than 70 Agnese Atlases that survive from the mid 16th century, there’s no denying that this world view is exceptional—not so much for the map, which has close parallels in other Agneses, but for the illuminated tromp l’oeil border and the billowing cloudscape into which the oval projection—and a dozen cherubic “winds” in varying and graduated skin tones—nestle. But what do the differences tell us? Using the consideration of the rendering of clouds as a springboard, this talk proposes some new ways to approach questions about the artist(s), the patron(s), and historical context(s) for this celebrated Renaissance manuscript atlas.