"Gades ab Occiduis Insulae Partibus", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Cadiz, Spain
Period: 1600 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Volume V
Color: Hand Color
19.3 x 14.4 inches
49 x 36.6 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 lovely view of Cadiz focuses on the chapel of San Sebastian in the foreground with the city in the background. Behind the castle is a depiction of one of the fishing methods used, in which a wall of rocks is erected in the water, so that the fish enter the pool at high tide and are then caught during low tide. A number of locations are numbered and identified in a key at bottom. Above the key is Hercules, the legendary founder of the city, controlling two Nemean lions. At left is an inset depicting the lot casting system used to enroll ship crews, and at right is a bastion shown firing upon some ships, denoting Cadiz's military importance. Drawn by Georg Hoefnagel who visited the city in 1564 and also provided the text on Cadiz for the Civitates Orbis Terrarum. French text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 348-50.
Lovely old color on watermarked paper with minor toning and soiling.