Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 641

"Rhotomagus, Galliae Luodunensis ad Sequanam flu. Opp. Vulgo Rouen", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: France, Rouen

Period: 1588 (published)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

14.8 x 11.8 inches
37.6 x 30 cm

Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum or "Cities of the World" was published between 1572 and 1617. Within the six volumes, 531 towns and cities were depicted on 363 plates, providing the reader with the pleasures of travel without the attendant discomforts. Braun wrote in the preface to the third book, "What could be more pleasant than, in one's own home far from all danger, to gaze in these books at the universal form of the earth . . . adorned with the splendor of cities and fortresses and, by looking at pictures and reading the texts accompanying them, to acquire knowledge which could scarcely be had but by long and difficult journeys?" Braun and Hogenberg incorporated an astonishing wealth of information into each scene beyond the city layout and important buildings. The plates provide an impression of the economy and prominent occupations, and illustrate local costumes, manners and customs.

Gorgeous view of Rouen, observed from a hillside vantage point overlooking the city and the River Seine, the plan is centered on the famous Rouen Cathedral. Rouen was a Celtic settlement called Rotomagus by the Romans. The town prospered under its early bishops. However, that made it a tempting target so it was sacked several times by the Normans, who made it their capital in 912. Joan of Arc was tried and executed here in 1431. France made several attempts to recapture the city and finally succeeded in 1449. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Rouen was a center for French art and one of the first towns to reflect the growing influence of the Renaissance. There are a pair of figures in the foreground dressed in the attire typical for the region and time. Decorative cartouche located at the lower right with a key to the important locations in Rouen.


Condition: A

Excellent impression, with a bit of printer's ink residue. A few spots of foxing in wide, blank margins. A couple of marginal splits and printer's creases, not affecting image.

Estimate: $350 - $450

Sold for: $325

Closed on 3/6/2007