This extraordinary engraving is from Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum or Atlas of the Cities of the World. The work was published in Augsberg in 1575. It is considered the greatest atlas of city views ever made. It included some of the earliest views available and is a crucial guide to understanding the world in the 16th century.
“The Civitates orbis terrarum or the ‘Braun & Hogenberg’ is the most famous of the early town atlases. The Civitates was, like Ortelius’s Theatrum, one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Although it had no comparable predecessor, it immediately answered a great public demand because social, political and economic life at that time was concentrated in cities. Apart from that the pictorial style of the plans and views appealed very much to the uneducated public.” (Van der Krogt)
This work was the most famouse of all the town-books comprising over 500 views. It featured views of the majority of the major European cities. The cities illustrated included Amsterdam, Barcelona, ??Bologna, Brixen, Brussels, Chios, Danzig, Hamburg, Helsingborg, Innsbruck, Istanbul (Constantinople), Cologne, Leiden, Liege, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Moscow, Nuremberg, Ostia, Paris, Pozzuoli, Prague-Eger, Rome, Rotterdam, Seville, Stockholm, Tivoli, Trento, Utrecht, Venice, Weimar, Wroclaw, and Zurich. It also included some illustrations of places in Asia, Africa, and Latin America including: Aden, Alexandria, Cuzco, Casablanca, Jerusalem, and Cairo.
Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg began the work for this atlas in 1572, intended as a companion work to Abraham Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Braun was responsible for editing the work and Hogenberg engraved the majority of the views. There were also many talented contributors that provided original drawings including Joris Hoefnagel (Spanish and Italian towns), Jacob van Deventer (Netherlands), Stumpf, Sebastien Munster (German), and Heinrich von Rantzau (Danish).
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was a German Catholic cleric. He spent most of his life working for the church St. Maria and Gradus. Abraham Ortelius assisted Braun with the editing of Civitates Orbis Terrarum.
Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590) was one of the greatest engravers of his time. He engraved the majority of the plates for Civitates Orbis Terrarum as well as Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Hogenberg also made sure to detail the foregrounds of the plates including fashion of the time.