Catalog Archive
Auction 132, Lot 445

"Amstelodamum", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Period: 1600 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

15.4 x 10.8 inches
39.1 x 27.4 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.

Since the first plan, drawn in 1572, the city had undergone considerable growth in trade following the destruction of Antwerp by the Spanish in 1576. By 1600 Amsterdam had laid the foundations of what was to become one of the leading trading empires of Europe. This plan shows the city center surrounded by the medieval town walls. The new expanded city limits and canal systems are depicted with fortifications built-out on the right and drawn in dotted lines to show the area to be enclosed on completion of the construction. It is decorated with two cartouches, two coats of arms and a finely dressed couple in the foreground. French text on verso.

References: Fussell, pp. 447-48.

Condition: A

Wide original margins with minor soil.

Estimate: $900 - $1,100

Sold for: $800

Closed on 6/2/2010