Catalog Archive
Auction 164, Lot 602

Early Bird's-Eye View of Milan

"Mediolanum", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Milan, Italy

Period: 1572 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. I

Color: Hand Color

18.9 x 13.2 inches
48 x 33.5 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 striking bird's-eye view captures Milan and the surrounding countryside. The fortified outer walls of the city begin and end with the Castello Sforzesco (top center), the former fortified palace of the Sforza Dukes of Milan. At the very center of the city is the cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, which was consecrated in the same year as Volume I of the Civitates. The view is flanked by two cartouches describing the city's coat of arms and the city's history. Braun noted " many different artisans live here that it is said that there are enough to rebuild Italy, but first you would have to destroy Milan in order to persuade its craftsmen and artists to migrate across the rest of Italy." German text on verso.

References: Fussel pp. 104-106.

Condition: B+

Nice impression and color with an edge tear at top right that extends 1.25" into the image and has been professionally repaired on verso. Two additional edge tears and a fold separation at bottom that just enter the map border have also been archivally repaired on verso. A portion of the top right blank margin has been replaced with old paper.

Estimate: $800 - $1,000

Sold for: $500

Closed on 9/13/2017