Joan Oliva

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Leading member of the Oliva family, a cartographic dynasty who dominated portolan production in Europe during the 16th and early 17th Centuries. Charts signed by no fewer than 16 different members of the Oliva family are recorded between 1538 and 1673, and individual members apparently worked throughout the Mediterranean world, as their charts originate from Mallorca, Messina, Naples, Livorno, Florence, Venice, Malta, Palermo, and Marseilles. The exact relationships between the various members are unclear, but Joan appears to have been one of the most prolific and highly regarded. The earliest of his charts were executed in Messina, but he is also recorded as living in Naples as well as Marseilles, where he is thought to have died.

Preview of a Joan Oliva portolan chart on vellum with intricate illustrations