Plantijn-Moretus Museum con Mercator: Exploring New Horizons
The European perspective opened up markedly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a whole new world unfolded. Explorers, traders and diplomats committed their travelling experiences to paper in journals and reports. They sketched out their impressions of recently discovered territories, making it possible for us today to see how they viewed other cultures at that time. These travel narratives may have been embroidered with a certain degree of fantasy at times, nevertheless, they also frequently provided precise descriptions of exotic regions.\nThey were important sources of information for cartography, which underwent an explosive evolution as a result. Navigational knowledge also grew considerably as a consequence of the traveller's urge to explore. After all, maritime expansion on a vast scale led to a need for new techniques and instruments in order to reach destinations quickly and safely. The development of cartography, in which Gerard Mercator played a pivotal role, was in turn responsible for expanding the mobility of Europeans as a whole. It was not uncommon for adventurous sixteenth-century travellers to embark on lengthy journeys as part of a trade mission or in connection with their education. One such young adventurer was Balthasar III Moretus. He made several journeys throughout Europe, including one to Italy, and kept journals of his observations on the way. Mercator: Exploring New Horizons maps out literally and figuratively this fascinating period of interplay between European travelling behaviour and the development of cartography.