Henricus Martellus and His Works
Henricus Martellus was a German cartographer active in Florence from about 1459–1496. His German descent is clear from his signature on the Yale Martellus map, Opus Henrici Martelli Germani, and also in other of his works. In earlier literature it is stated that “Henricus Martellus” is the Latinized form of “Heinrich Hammer,” but there is no documentary evidence to show that the cartographer ever used the latter name. Recently Lorenz Böninger as part of his studies of the fifteenth-century German community in Florence has argued that Henricus Martellus Germanus is to be identified as Arrigo di Federico Martello, an employee of the Martelli family of Florence, who were loyal to the Medici and were significant patrons of the arts. However, Luisa Rubini Messerli has disproven this identification with an impressive marshaling of paleographical evidence, and we are left without any knowledge of who Martellus was. The chances are good, though, that Martellus came to Florence from Nuremberg, which was the center of the German Renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and his work as a cartographer shows the influence of Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, who produced manuscripts of Ptolemy’s Geography in three different recensions, some of which included tabulae modernae or new, non-Ptolemaic maps, and who also in 1477 made one terrestrial and one celestial globe for the newly established Vatican Library.