Catalog Archive
Auction 178, Lot 383

Splendid Bird's-Eye View of Moscow

"Moscovia Urbs Metropolis Totius Russiae Albae", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Moscow, Russia

Period: 1617 (circa)

Publication: Civitatus Orbis Theatrum, Vol. VI

Color: Hand Color

18.1 x 13.7 inches
46 x 34.8 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 bird's-eye view of Moscow is Braun & Hogenberg's second plan of the then capital city of Russia. It is shown from the northeast with the Moskva River curving through the city. The fortified Kremlin is at the core of the city with the Neglinnaya River forming a protective moat to supplement the original city walls. A second wall built in 1534-38 encloses the Kitaigorod, or the trader's quarter, with the suburbs, called Bielgorod, enclosed in a third tower studded wall. The major buildings and churches are identified in a key at right.

References: Fussel, pp. 490-93.

Condition: A

Nice impression and color with a small chip confined to the bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,900

Sold for: $1,300

Closed on 6/10/2020