"Caprarola Arx et Horti Farnesiani", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Villa Farnese, Italy
Period: 1598 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. V
Color: Hand Color
19.6 x 14.9 inches
49.8 x 37.8 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 fine view shows Villa Farnese (also known as Villa Caprarola) and the surrounding countryside. Located in today's Lago di Vico nature preserve, the villa was commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III. The view highlights architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola's brilliant Late Renaissance design, which insisted on balance and harmony over ornamentation. Montaigne once described the villa as the most beautiful palace in Italy. Latin text on verso.
References: Fussel, p. 421.
Light toning with some minor spots of foxing.