Worldly Consumers: The Demand For Maps In Renaissance Italy

Hardcover | June 22, 2015

byGenevieve Carlton

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Though the practical value of maps during the sixteenth century is well documented, their personal and cultural importance has been relatively underexamined. In Worldly Consumers, Genevieve Carlton explores the growing availability of maps to private consumers during the Italian Renaissance and shows how map acquisition and display became central tools for constructing personal identity and impressing one’s peers.

Drawing on a variety of sixteenth-century sources, including household inventories, epigrams, dedications, catalogs, travel books, and advice manuals, Worldly Consumers studies how individuals displayed different maps in their homes as deliberate acts of self-fashioning. One citizen decorated with maps of Bruges, Holland, Flanders, and Amsterdam to remind visitors of his military prowess, for example, while another hung maps of cities where his ancestors fought or governed, in homage to his auspicious family history. Renaissance Italians turned domestic spaces into a microcosm of larger geographical places to craft cosmopolitan, erudite identities for themselves, creating a new class of consumers who drew cultural capital from maps of the time.

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Though the practical value of maps during the sixteenth century is well documented, their personal and cultural importance has been relatively underexamined. In Worldly Consumers, Genevieve Carlton explores the growing availability of maps to private consumers during the Italian Renaissance and shows how map acquisition and display bec...

Genevieve Carlton is assistant professor of early modern European history at the University of Louisville.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:June 22, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022625531X

ISBN - 13:9780226255316

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“Worldly Consumers concentrates on Venice and Florence, the major centers for the production and distribution of maps and where the strongest documentary evidence survives. Carlton’s strength is her detailed and accurate examination of her fascinating primary sources—the inventories of Venetian and Florentine houses, which she uses to document the existence of maps in the domestic setting as well as, whenever possible, their location and display within the house. Through a careful reading of these inventories and the computation of the information derived from them, Carlton is able to examine in detail how many households displayed maps, what these maps roughly represented, where they were displayed, and how these elements contributed to identity construction. Worldly Consumers is a solid contribution to the broader understanding of Renaissance culture, successfully establishing that the consumption of maps was part and parcel of the demand for goods in Renaissance Italy and how maps participated in the self-fashioning of their owners.”