"Roterodamum Hollandiae Opp. [on sheet with] Gouda Hollandiae Opp. ad Isalam Amnem...", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Rotterdam & Gouda, Netherlands
Period: 1581 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. III
Color: Hand Color
18.9 x 14.5 inches
48 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 sheet features two striking views of prominent cities in the Netherlands, both with coats-of-arms at top left and top right. The skyline of Rotterdam is depicted at top, with Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk dominating the view. Still centuries away from the construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal, which would transform the small peninsular city into Europe's largest port, Rotterdam was nonetheless becoming an important port around the time of the publication of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum due to its direct access to the sea during the Dutch Revolt. Ships fill the waters around the city, and various figures in customary local dress appear in the foreground. The second view covers Gouda from across the IJssel. The city's now-destroyed castle complex and fortifications are shown, and some of the town's beautiful interior can be seen through a sluice gate in the river. There are various vessels in the IJssel and on the shore, and a man and woman stand in the foreground.
References: Fussel, p. 238-239.
On a watermarked sheet with moderate scattered stains and soiling and a small hole in the Rotterdam view at left that has been backed in tissue on verso. A few edge tears at bottom have been archivally repaired on verso.