Art and Cartography

Research on the intersection of art history with the histories of science, cartography, and geography.

We often think of maps as helping us to orient ourselves in the world: to figure out how to get somewhere, to trace our movements, and to understand the relationship between here and there.

In the age of GPS tracking, our movements can be mapped with precision and we may never actually be “lost.”

Historically, however, maps helped viewers virtually access and visualize places that they may never have had a chance to experience firsthand: cities in distant empires, pilgrimage sites that might have taken a year to travel to, islands in far-off oceans, and countries seen as if from the heavens.

As products of technology, art, experience, and the imagination, maps have been the subject of increasing fascination in recent years as collections have been digitized and researchers have been able to access even the rarest examples of maps.

Drawing on Mark Rosen’s study of Early Modern maps and the artistic, scientific, and publishing communities that fostered their production, this research area explores the making and proliferation of cartographic objects and their functions in the world.

We are committed to bridging the analog and digital domains by using the latest technologies to shed light on the history of maps and to better understand the visual strategies and rhetorics that inform them.

Mark Rosen, Associate Professor, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, The University of Texas at Dallas

Rosen's recent book bridges the disciplines of art history and the histories of science, cartography and geography to look closely at surviving Italian painted maps