"Theatre des Principales Villes de Tout l'Univers", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Title Pages
Period: 1618 (published)
Color: Hand Color
8.8 x 13.9 inches
22.4 x 35.3 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 is the title page for the French edition of the sixth and final volume of Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Published by Braun and Hogenberg's successors Antonius Hierat and Abraham Hogenberg, the striking title page reflects the turmoil of Europe in the lead-up to the Thirty Years' War. Four allegorical figures adorn the top of the sheet, representing righteousness, religion, justice, and punishment. In the center, there is a tense standoff between the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor and the Protestant Palatine Elector. Between them is a vignette of men and women improving fortifications. Contrasting vignettes at bottom show a peaceful, prosperous town and a town under attack, with the rising sun on the horizon at left becoming a city on fire at right. A message appears between these vignettes: "Nulla salus Bello, Pacem te poscimus omnes" ("There is no salvation in War, we all yearn for Peace").
References: Shirley (TP) #12A.
A fine impression with full contemporary color, marginal toning, and remnants of hinge tape on verso.