Fiorenza: Geography and Representation in a Fifteenth Century City View
By David Friedman
Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 64. Bd., H. 1 (2001)
In the last two decades a growing number of cartographic historians have focused attention away from traditional concerns of their discipline, the record of geographic discovery and the development of mapping technology, to concentrate on the ways in which maps construct, rather than passively register, the situations they represent. The art historian, at home with artifacts whose functions are fundamentally those of persuasion, whose every element is invented and whose makers are assumed to have a fundamental role in the construction of meaning, may not appreciate the significance of this shift. The diversity of critical perspective depends, of course, on our very different expectations for maps and pictures. As the cartographic critic reminds us: when maps are understood as providing information, their authority depends on their audience perceiving them as both accurate and objective.