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WYPR Arts

'Cartographia' Showcases Maps as History, Art

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Vincent Virga's Cartographia is a rare collection of 250 color maps and illustrations drawn from the world's largest cartographic collection at the Library of Congress. The collection spans everything from maps of ancient Mesopotamia, to maps of Columbus' discoveries, to contemporary satellite images and maps of the human genome.

Virga says that maps are like time machines — they reveal as much about the society that created them as they do about the geography of the places they describe.

Virga discusses the collection, which he culled from the Library of Congress' millions of maps and tens of thousands of atlases.

"Maps always have and always will help us communicate our physical, mental, and spiritual journeys," Virga says.

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