Catalog Archive
Auction 168, Lot 571

Superb, Two-Sheet Bird's-Eye Plan of Rome

"Antiquae Urbis Romae Imago Accuratiss: ex Vetustis Monumentis, ex Vestigiis Videlicet Aedificior...", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Rome, Italy

Period: 1620 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. IV

Color: Hand Color

19.6 x 27 inches
49.8 x 68.6 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 superb map of ancient Rome is copied from Pirro Ligorio's famous map of 1561. Ligorio, an architect, painter and antiquarian, attempted to re-create a full picture of ancient Rome during the reign of Caesar Augustus. In this very intricate work, an extraordinary number of structures are delineated in exquisite detail. A cartouche at bottom lists 269 of these structures and sites. The city is viewed from the west, with the Marcellus Theatre adjacent to the Tiber River at bottom center, the Mausoleum of Augustus at far left, and Mont Testaccio at bottom right. Other important structures shown are the Coliseum, Circus Maximus, Pyramid of Cestius, and many more. French text on verso. On two sheets, professionally joined.

References: Fussel, pp. 338-339.

Condition: A

Excellent impression and color on a clean, bright sheet with two short, archivally repaired centerfold separations, a tiny hole in the bottom cartouche, and a small rust spot in the image adjacent to the Mausoleum of Augustus.

Estimate: $1,600 - $2,000

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 6/6/2018