“When I wake up in the morning and look into your eyes, I see the possibility before me that I can go anywhere.” Stephen Thaddeus Wawryk
At a time when maps were used as the main tool for sailors to navigate their journeys at sea, two friends in the Netherlands thought of them in terms of craft.
In 1570, with the help from Gerardus Mercator, Abraham Ortelius created Theatre of the Round World.
Ortelius was a trained engraver who collected maps and redrew them with color, new details, and decorated borders.
This book of maps went on to have enormous success, and in 1602, it rendered its thirteenth Latin edition among other editions in languages such as Dutch, Italian, French, German and Spanish.
As Mercator remained in the shadows of his younger friend, Ortelius, his work followed this same pattern. In 1590, he faced a stroke that left him incapacitated and eventually died in 1594 from having two more strokes.
Mercator’s new book, Atlas, or Cosmographical Meditations upon the Creation of the Universe, was nearly forgotten about until Jodocus Hondius recreated it in 1606 with 40 added maps.
Mercator “revolutionised the art of navigation, making it simpler and therefore safer” during these times.
Infrastructure, when thought through with beauty and purpose, can revolutionize the way we live. It can set us in a world of endless potential.
Whether it be through the construction of roads, power lines being built, improvements in aviation, or simply the redesign of a map; art is everywhere.
Our abilities to perform magic through imagination are unstoppable. Think Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk.
What Mercator and Ortelius remind us of are the pioneers throughout our day.
The question arises, what is your contribution to this earth?
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!
** Special Thanks to John Lienhard for his episode, No. 889: THE FIRST ATLAS