Global Eyes

Ambon, Maluku Islands, detail from one of the city views on exhibit in Florence as part of ‘The Global Eye‘ (line-and-wash drawing on canvas-backed paper, attributed to Johannes Vingboons, Amsterdam 1665-68)

Two beautiful exhibits are bringing to light hidden treasures from Florence historical libraries, and tracing the circulation of geographical knowledge during the early modern era in a global perspective.

The Global Eye: Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese Maps in the Collections of the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici at the Medicea Library – info at this link – includes a number of XVII-century maps and drawings of ports, cities, and coasts from “East and West Indies”, including the coasts of the North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the seas of South East Asia, Japan, the Strait of Malacca.

These hand-painted materials were purchased by prince Cosimo III de’ Medici (1642‐1723) during a visit to the Netherlands, between 1667 and 1668, and in Lisbon 1669. Today the exhibit and the thorough-researched catalogue allow us to get a good sense of how geographical and proto-ethnographical knowledge circulated during the early modern era, exploring Cosimo III’s networks, and the role of various cultural brokers.

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Digital History

A directory of selected digital history projects, especially focused on early modern history, with special sections devoted to toolkits for digital historians and the Enlightenment

Image credit: Thomas Tuttell, Mathematical Playing Cards, 4 of hearts, ‘Sea Quadrant’, engraving, pasteboard, 1700, detail. © The Trustees of the British Museum, under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence.

A directory of selected digital history projects, especially focused on early modern history, with special sections devoted to toolkits for digital historians and the Enlightenment.

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