SHD Virtual Lecture Series

Lydia Towns Discussion



Prof. Victoria Morse

“Making the Invisible Visible: The City Maps of Opicino de Canistris”

When: Feb. 23, 2023 at 2:30pm (CT)

Cost: FREE

Opicino de Canistris (1298-ca.1354) is well known for his elaborately layered images that combine a wide range of map types with symbolic and textual information.  In addition to his two highly visual autograph manuscripts, he was the author of several earlier surviving treatises, two of which are known currently.  

These manuscripts are often studied separately from the autographs, in large part for biographical reasons: Opicino himself described a significant crisis (variously interpreted by scholars) that divided his earlier from his later work.  There are, nevertheless, continuities of interest between the treatises and the maps in the autographs.  This talk will focus on the especially clear case of his portrayals of the city of Pavia, exploring how his later mapping of the city grew out of and relates to the textual mapping he had written earlier.

Victoria Morse is Professor of History at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she co-directs the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program.  She has been interested in maps since studying with Albert Derolez when he visited U.C. Berkeley; she wrote her dissertation on the maps in the autograph manuscripts of Opicino de Canistris and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the History of Cartography Project at UW Madison. Now her research focuses on a wide-ranging study of the concepts of geographical and political space in northern Italy in 14th century texts, images, and maps.  

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