Costantinopoli città principale del gran turcho


Cartographer(s): Domenico Zenoi, Donato Bertelli
Date: 1568
Place: Venice
Dimensions: 16.5 x 13 cm (6.5 x 5.1 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

In stock

SKU: NL-00093 Categories: , Tag:

Lafreri-school 1568 Zenoi reverse-image bird’s-eye-view of Istanbul.


An extremely interesting and rare town-plan of Constantinople, a bird’s-eye-view from the east.

What makes this map exceptional is the fact that the city itself is depicted in mirror image. Its model was a woodcut by Giovanni Andrea Vavassore. Instead of using the model to make an inverse on the copperplate, the engraver seems to have copied the image directly; thus when the image was pressed, it appears itself in reverse. Place names and descriptions were then added to the map afterwards.

Domenico Zenoi engraved this view of Istanbul for Paolo Forlani’s 1567 Primo libro. This example is likely from Bertelli’s 1568 Civitatum…delineatio (evidenced by the plate number 66 in the lower right corner). In the title frame sits a second line cum privilegio and in the lower left corner the engraver’s signature D.nco Zenoi.

A fantastic addition to any Constantinople collection or for collectors interesting in the history of 16th century Italian engraving and publishing.


Domenico Zenoi Donato Bertelli

The Bertelli family represents the largest group of publishers, engravers, cartographers, and merchants of 16th century prints. The most productive was Ferrando Bertelli, active between 1560 and 1570, but maps of the last quarter of the century are known with the signatures of Andrea, Donato, Lucca, Nicolò, and Pietro. The latter was mainly active in Padua, where he led a printing and engraving workshop.

Donato Bertelli (active 1558-1592) was a Late Renaissance printer, publisher, and mapmaker. Operating under the banner of San Marco in Venice, Bertelli was one of the more prominent members of the ‘Lafreri School’ of cartography working out of Rome and Venice during the 16th Century.

Although born in Padua, Donato Bertelli moved to Venice as a young man and spent his entire career there. In 1559, shortly after first arriving in town, he found work in Ferrando Bertelli’s workshop. When Ferrando died, Donato either took over the entire shop or at least acquired his plates, which he then used to launch his publishing career. Donato Bertelli would also publish plates from other Lafreri mapmakers, including Forlani and Camocio, and would often make the prints his own by adding personal elements.

Condition Description

A few worm holes in lower right margin. Light water staining in right margin. Very fair impression and printed on heavy paper.


Bilfolco TAV. 169.

Meurer, Peter H. The Strabo Illustratus atlas: a unique sixteenth century composite atlas from the house of Bertelli in Venice. Bedburg-Hau: Antiquariat Gebr. Haas, 2004, #132.