Happy Birthday, Mercator

A new exhibition in the Maps Division of the New York Public Library, Mercator at 500 , is co-hosted by Tourism Flanders and honors the work of Gerardus Mercator, an historic geographer, engraver and maker of scientific instruments, maps and globes, on the 500th anniversary of his birth.

On display through September 29, 2012 are many cartographic works that have been stored away for decades.

According to the library:

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), seated at left, is one of the best known of the Flemish and Netherlandish cartographers flourishing in the 16th and 17th centuries. Rooted in scientific instrument and globe making, he was the century’s foremost geographer, dubbed by his fellow mapmaker Abraham Ortelius as “the Ptolemy of our Age”.

In 1585, Mercator published the first of an ambitious three volume world atlas series, the most modern, scientifically verified atlas published in its time. His grandson would eventually sell the entire stock in 1604 to Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612), seated at right, a skilled engraver, map and globe maker.

This is the title page of the second edition of Mercator’s Ptolemaic atlas.

Images courtesy the New York Public Library

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