Auction 127, Lot 540

"Olissippo quae nunc Lisboa, Civitas Amplissima Lusitaniae, ad Tagum…", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Lisbon, Portugal

Period: 1605 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

18.5 x 14.5 inches
47 x 36.8 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 beautifully rendered bird's-eye view shows Lisbon from the sea with several three-masted sailing ships and many smaller local boats in the foreground and in the port. Lisbon has been an important port since about 585BC when it was earlier on occupied by the Alaric, Visigoths and the Moors. Beginning in 407BC it was a Roman colonia. Various raids and occupations took place until 1390 when it became an archbishopric. The sixteenth century saw the city attain great wealth and stature with the establishment of the Portuguese sea-borne empire. Below the view a large table, which continues into the upper corners, identifies 140 important buildings by number. Locates the Castello de Sao Jorge, Sao Vicente de For a, and the Nossa Senhora do Monte to mention a few. The affluence and vibrancy of the city is evident in this finely engraved bird's-eye view. Illustrated in full color in Goss. French text on verso.

References: Goss (Cities) #30.

Condition: A

Fine, dark impression, strong color and full margins. One worm hole in image in water that is visible when held to the light, still very good.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,400

Sold for: $1,100

Closed on 2/25/2009