"Strigonium. Gran", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Esztergom, Hungary
Period: 1595 (dated)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. V
Color: Black & White
20.3 x 13.6 inches
51.6 x 34.5 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 sheet features two striking views of the Hungarian city of Esztergom or Gran, known in Roman times as Strigonium. It was the first royal residence and the capital of Hungary until the 13th century. The sheet shows two viewpoints of the city and surroundings after its sacking and occupation by the Turks in 1542. At top is a view from the east, focusing on the castle ruins overlooking a destroyed city. The bottom view is from the west, giving greater detail of the Lower Town along the banks of the Danube River. Three mounted soldiers joust in the foreground. Latin text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 414-16.
On watermarked paper with some minor toning, primarily along the centerfold, and faint spots. There are some small chips and edge tears in the blank margins, including one tear that has been closed with tape on verso.