Networked Nation

Mapping German Cities in Sebastian Münster’s 'Cosmographia'


In Networked Nation: Mapping German Cities in Sebastian Münster’s 'Cosmographia', Jasper van Putten examines the groundbreaking woodcut city views in the German humanist Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia. This description of the world, published in Basel from 1544 to 1628, glorified the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and engendered the city book genre. Van Putten argues that Münster’s network of city view makers and contributors—from German princes and artists to Swiss woodcutters, draftsmen, and printers—expressed their local and national cultural identities in the views. The Cosmographia, and the city books it inspired, offer insights into the development of German and Swiss identity from 1550 to Switzerland’s independence from the empire in 1648.

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Jasper van Putten, Ph.D. (2015), Harvard University, is lecturer at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His publications concern the production of knowledge through prints in the early modern period.
"This book is a significant, original, and beautifully executed contribution to the study of Renaissance culture in the German lands. In its meticulous reconstruction of Münster’s networks, the milieux and ambitions of the artists who worked on the city views, and the fate of city views across different texts and multiple editions, it brings together scholarship on humanism, publishing, dynastic rivalries, Swiss independence, and penmanship (among other things) into a legible set of relationships. This research then forms the basis for impressive and persuasive analyses of the city views themselves, amply demonstrating the case for their importance in identity formation and representation."
Christine R. Johnson, Washington University, St. Louis

"Jasper van Putten's fine book should reach a wide audience of historians, in particular anyone with an interest in cultural geography and the increasingly popular topic of the history of maps and knowledge. Van Putten’s clear and logical text is deeply researched throughout and provides strong analysis about the cultural significance of city views as portraits, often linked to a regional ruler and to civic identity, particularly for imperial cities."
Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania

List of Illustrations
List of Tables

Introduction: Networked Nation

1 Sebastian Münster and His City Views

2 City Portraits

3 The Origins, Politics, and Economics of the City View

4 Bishops vs. Bürger

5 Ottheinrich’s View of Heidelberg

6 Depicting Swiss Pride

7 The Evolution of the City Book

Conclusion: New World, New Order



All interested in early modern print culture, printing, cartography, and city views, relationships between art and science, German and Swiss national identity, and cities. Students using GIS in the humanities.
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