"Colonia Agrippina", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Cologne, Germany
Period: 1575 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. I
Color: Hand Color
18 x 15 inches
45.7 x 38.1 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.
A handsome bird's-eye plan of Cologne along the Rhine River. Cologne was an imperial city of the Roman Empire, and continued to grow through the centuries due to its close trading links with England. The city is depicted in intricate detail as viewed from the west, with three cartouches providing information on the city. To the left of center is the Cologne Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in Germany with towers that reach 157 meters in height. Nearby are the town hall, the Alter Markt and the Heumarkt. At bottom center is the Romanesque basilica of the Holy Apostles. The engraving is embellished with costumed figures and two coats of arms. Latin text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 102-103 & 106.
Full contemporary color with a 1" separation along the centerfold and a parallel 1" tear that have been archivally repaired on verso. There is very light soiling, a tiny hole at top, and a small chip along the centerfold confined to the bottom blank margin.