Auction 119, Lot 701

"Elegantissimus ad mare Tyrrhenum ex Monte Pausilipo Neapolis Montisque Vesuvii Prospectus", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Italy

Period: 1578 (dated)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19 x 14.3 inches
48.3 x 36.3 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.

This is a beautiful and dramatic bird's-eye-view of the Bay of Naples, with Naples and the mountains of Vesuvius and Somma in the distance. The Castello St. Elmo is shown perched atop the hill overlooking the bay, and in the foreground of the view, the ancient Grotto of Pausilipo winds through to the town of Pozzuoli. There are numerous figures filling the view, including travelers and a shepherd serenading his flock with a pipe. The lettered key to the left notes that the road in front is the Camino per Roma, leading to Rome. In 1577 Abraham Ortelius and Georg Hoefnagle traveled throughout Italy resulting in Hoefnagle's numerous depictions of towns and landscapes in Braun and Hogenberg's great topographical work. This plate bears Hoefnagle's imprint at lower right. German text on verso.


Condition: A+

Truly lovely old color. The centerfold has been professionally reinforced on the verso.

Estimate: $800 - $1,100

Sold for: $900

Closed on 5/9/2007