Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 612

"Palermo", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Period: 1620 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. IV

Color: Hand Color

19.6 x 12.8 inches
49.8 x 32.5 cm
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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 lovely bird's-eye plan shows the important port city of Palermo from the northeast. At the top of the sheet is the Palace of the Norman Kings (Palazzo dei Normanni), which is the oldest royal residence in Europe. The new port at bottom right is filled with large galleys. A numbered key identifies 162 locations on the plan. French text on verso.

References: Fussel, pp. 338 & 340-41.

Condition: A

A sharp impression on watermarked paper with professional repairs to a minor centerfold separation near the center of the image and a large chip confined to the blank margin at top left.

Estimate: $900 - $1,100


Closed on 9/11/2019