"Avignon", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Avignon, France
Period: 1575 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. II
Color: Hand Color
18.6 x 12.1 inches
47.2 x 30.7 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 superb panoramic view of Avignon, the residence of the French Papacy during the 14th century. The plan is based on a similar view by Belleforest and prominently features the fabulous palaces along with the city streets, walls, gates, homes, gardens, windmills and even a gallows. The Pont d'Avignon stretches from the city, across the Rhone River, to the village of Villeneuve-les-Avignon. A strapwork cartouche contains a key to 46 locations and the plan is decorated with a costumed couple in the foreground and the coat of arms at top center. French manuscript text on verso.
References: Fussel, p. 150-51.
A nice impression with attractive color on watermarked paper, two printer's creases adjacent to centerfold, and marginal soiling.