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Chapter 1 evaluates Jacopo de’ Barbari’s View of Venice in terms of earlier city views and a near-contemporary innovation in cartography—the Venetian state’s decision to systematically collect quantitative and qualitative geospatial data about its territorial holdings and visualize them in a classified collection of annotated “pictures.” This watershed in mapping and data management dates to 1460, when officials in Venice decreed that accurate knowledge of place for the entire empire should be handily available in drawings for those with decision-making authority in the metropole. The essay demonstrates the importance of contextualizing de’ Barbari’s View in terms of this contemporary cartographic production in Venice, which remains relatively unstudied compared to maps that circulated in print. It also ties Venice’s innovation in government mapping and information technology to a humanist culture peculiar to that city at the time and associates the View with the same mapping impulse.

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