Marco Polo - Portrait | Severin Worm-Petersen


Marco Polo - Portrait | Severin Worm-Petersen


First published in Nuremberg in 1477, this woodcut portrait of Marco Polo describes the famous Venetian merchant as a “Great Traveller” and a discoverer of the “Great Wonders of the World”. Polo’s extensive travels to Asia in the late 13th century demonstrated the true scope of Europe’s emerging merchant capitalist model, marking the beginning of a global economic order and ushering in the “Age of Discovery” that accelerated a new era of globalization. Venice and other coastal cities quickly became bustling cultural centers, facilitating the rapid movement of wealth and intellectual discourse that characterized the changing social and political landscape of early modern Europe. With the distribution of his famous travelogue Book of the Marvels of the World, Polo continued to be a popular figure in Europe nearly two centuries after his death. As humanist thinking continued to dominate scholarly spheres, Marco Polo’s ambitious travels embodied the values of exploration and discovery, and expanded the European imagination to new and uncharted lands. 


[Unknown] Photograph by Severin Worm-Petersen


Unknown. Marco Polo - Portrait, 1477. Woodcut, Norsk Teknisk Museum.




Zach Irvin


CC BY Free Re-use


[Unknown] Photograph by Severin Worm-Petersen, “Marco Polo - Portrait | Severin Worm-Petersen,” HIST 139 - Early Modern Europe, accessed March 25, 2023,

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