Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum is one of the most important works from the early days of modern cartography and topographical illustration. Georg Braun, the editor, and Frans Hogenberg, the engraver, worked for over twenty years to produce their "towns of the world," the first systematic depiction of views of cities throughout the world. This impressive production, issued in six volumes from 1572 to 1617, was a monumental piece of Renaissance learning and was designed to complement Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas. These two atlases, both firsts of their type, were in response to a new interest in the nature of the world by the Western European population. This nascent interest was spurred both by the existence of a growing middle class and the relatively new general availability of printed books.
The following prints were issued in Cologne in Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Each is a copper engraving and is in very good condition, except as noted. Page numbers refer to Stephan Füssel, ed. Cities of the World. Köln: 2008.
"Gandavum, Amplissima Flandriae Urbs." Volume I, -1575. Original hand color. 13 1/4 x 19. French text on verso.
Ghent is located on the confluence of the Schedlt and Lys Rivers; its older name of Ganda comes from the Celtic word for confluence. At the time this print was issued, Ghent was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in northern Europe, though it suffered severely during the religious wars of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. A walled fortress on an island surrounded by a moat is shown at one edge of the sprawling residential city, with each building and church nicely delineated. Of interest are the many windmills shown in the surrounding fields. $750
"Lugdunum" (Lyon). France. From Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Volume I, 1572. Engraving. 13 x 18 3/4. Original hand color.
The text on verso praises the city's houses and gardens and attributes its great wealth to its rivers. Clearly delineating Lyon's position between the Rhône and Saône Rivers, this view illustrates how ease of transportation aided in the growth of the city as a center of trade, humanism, printing, and, after being granted a monopoly in 1536, silk weaving. The cartouche on the left is a brief history of the place and on the right is a verse complimenting the town. $675
"Mechelen." Belgium. Volume III, 1581. Original hand color. 13 x 17 7/8. Latin text on verso explaining how Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, moved the royal court here in 1473. Fussel p. 220.
With a cartouche calling it a "faithful view of the illustrious town," this view is of the birthplace of Franz Hogenberg in a birds-eye view from the northwest. $2,200
"Perusia." Volume IV, 1588. 14 1/4 x 17. Latin text on verso. P. 327. Hand color. $600
"Sneecha. vulgo Sneeck Frisiæ Occidentalis Oppidum"/ "Sloten"/ "Doccum"/ "Ylstæ." Volume IV, 1588. Original hand color. 13 3/4 x 16 1/4. Minor repaired tears at edges. Latin text on verso.
Plans of these four small Dutch towns appear in separate panels, along with two Dutch couples in local dress. $650
St. Omer, France
"S. Audomari" (St. Omer). France. Volume IV, 1588. Original hand color. 13 1/4 x 17 7/8. Latin text on verso explains how the town was named for a German-born priest and bishop. Fussel, p. 280.
With a title cartouche on the left and a location key cartouche on the right, this view from the south illustrates a vibrant commercial center that grew from religious roots. $1,600
"Tornacum." Vol. IV, circa 1588+. 14 1/4 x 17. Original hand color. Repairs on back to strengthen centerfold and a few short tears. Browned. Latin text on verso.
A plan of Tournay located in southwest Belgium on the Schelde, forty miles southwest of BrusselsThis view has a key with thirty landmarks identified, especially the town's beautiful cathedrals. $450
"Hypra Flandriarum." Volume II; 1575. 13 1/2 x 12 5/8. Latin text. Pp. 148-149. Hand color. N. W. Belgium (Flanders) cloth weaving. $650
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