Costantinopoli città principale del gran turcho


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

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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.