Specialties of a Cosmographic Atlas 5. – Exhibition

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2015/06/20 - 2015/10/10


This year, too, the Map Collection of National Széchényi Library keeps on presenting Library founder Count Ferenc Széchényi’s map collection which contains several thousand items. Out of the uniquely rich and precious, 16th to 19th-century European cartographic collection, we have selected from the city maps in the Library founder’s map collection for the current exhibition, which is the 5th in a row.

This part of the collection does not contain a significant amount of items, just 90 special-edition pieces and 50 items bound in atlases, works published mainly in the 18th century. One third of the landscapes (40 pieces) had been made by two of the most significant German map publishers of the 18th century: Matthäus Seutter (32 items) and Homann Heirs (8 items). The rest of the maps had been published in different countries of Europe, mainly during the 18th century.

According to our present-day notion, Ferenc Széchényi was not a collector of old maps. He needed these maps chiefly for everyday use (partly for travel purposes) and to widen his general geographical knowledge or to use them as an aid for his historical readings.

This latter aspect might have motivated him when he acquired a rare piece, helping to get to know the city of Rome in modern times and in the ancient world. This piece was made by Piro Ligorio (1513/14–1583), the renowned 16th-century Italian architect and cartographer. The large-scale London map by John Carry, the small city map of Florence or the highly artistic map of Naples by famous Italian map-maker Giovanni Antonio Rizzi Zannoni (1736–1814) had been acquired by Count Széchényi during his travels to England and Italy.

Our current exhibition shows a selection reflecting the city-map section of Ferenc Széchényi’s collection in its entirety. A special showcase is dedicated to the so-called Seutter map collection including noteworthy works of art, as far as artistic and visual solutions are concerned. Displayed will be rare pieces of the collection, and, with the help of four pieces, the city of Rome will also be in the focus of the exhibition.

Venue: National Széchényi Library, Buda Castle, Building “F”, Map Collection on Floor 6, H-1014 Budapest
Date: The exhibition will be open between June 20 and July 11, 2015 and, following the summer closing of the Library, between August 25 and October 10, 2015, Tuesday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Visitors who do not own a Reader Pass to NSZL can visit our temporary chamber exhibitions for a flat fee of HUF 400.

Thematic site covering the exhibitions http://szechenyiterkepek.oszk.hu/en