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Siegfried Kullen:

The Swiss Pater Gabriel Bucelin (1599–1681) as map designer

Cartographica Helvetica 19 (1999) 27–36


Pater Gabriel Bucelin's work ranges from an expressionistic-naive sketch of the Hegau Mountains drawn when he was a youth, to map proofs created during the middle phase of his life when he was inspired by renowned cartographers, all the way to the meticulous and geographically accurate pen drawing of the Blumenegg Estate. Besides the broad scope of his interest, the individual progress in terrain representation during the span of his lifetime is remarkable. He apparently adapted cartographic innovations used by his renowned ideals (e.g. hachures, modelling through vegetation) and applied these techniques in a very particular manner, so that each of his drawings bore his personal traits.

The question of Bucelin's role as a cartographer in the 17th century, however, remains. Compared to the extraordinary and almost revolutionary work of his contemporaries and fellow countrymen Andreas Rauch and Johannes Morell, Bucelin's maps almost seem antiquated and incomplete. None of his maps show any kind of mathematical or geodetic principles. They have no indications of latitude or longitude and do not even include a scale. Also the content of some of the maps is often false or rudimentary. However, his talent for understanding spatial relationships and being able to represent these graphically cannot be denied. He was in the true sense an 'amateur cartographer' who drew simple maps out of sheer love and interest in the landscape as well as for his own orientation.

Bibliographic note

  • Edited version of: Pater Gabriel Bucelin (1599–1681) als Karten- und Landschaftszeichner. In: Im Oberland 8, 1 (1997) pp. 31–44.

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