"Orleans [on sheet with] Bourges", Braun & Hogenberg
Period: 1581 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum
Color: Hand Color
18.3 x 14.6 inches
46.5 x 37.1 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 folio sheet contains two panoramic city views. At top is the city of Orleans, as seen from the south. It is located at a strategic point on the Loire with its important bridge. In the center, rising above the city, is Sainte-Croix cathedral. At bottom is the city of Bourges with the gothic cathedral of Saint Etienne dominating the skyline. The well-fortified walls that protect the city include the Great Tower, from which one could see the entire surrounding countryside. The left side of the view is dominated by the palace of Jacques Coeur, an important merchant and Finance Minister to King Charles VII. In the foreground, both views include wonderful scenes of local costumes and daily activities with people fishing, doing laundry, courting, spinning yarn, herding sheep and hauling wood. Both views were drawn by Georg Hoefnagel. French text on verso.
References: Fussel p. 139.