Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 394

"Augusta Iuxta Figuram quam his ce Temporibus Habet Delinea", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Augsburg, Germany

Period: 1575 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. I

Color: Hand Color

18.7 x 13.1 inches
47.5 x 33.3 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 striking bird's-eye view of the fortified city of Augsburg was drawn after Hans Rogel, who was copying Munster. The city takes its name from Caesar Augustus who established a colony here in 14BC and named it Augusta Vendelicorum. It was a crucial trade city between northern Europe, Italy, and the Levant, as well as an intellectual and cultural center on par with Nuremberg. The plan shows the upper and lower towns surrounded by impressive walls and moats. The main street (Maximilianstrasse) travels the processional route between a tenth century cathedral in the east and a fifteenth century burial church at the western end. Along this route are a series of markets and the leading families' palaces and mansions. The view is graced with a banner title and two strapwork cartouches as well as a pair of armorial shields. A numbered key of 133 sites in Augsburg is located in the cartouche at the lower left. The cartouche at right recounts the history of Augsburg's settlement and lists sources of the city's glory, including both its rich inhabitants and its concern for its poor. German text on verso.

References: Fussel, p. 101; Goss (Cities) #4.

Condition: B+

Full contemporary color on watermarked paper with light soiling that is more prominent in the blank margins, a couple of tiny holes in the image, and several dark stains in the top blank margin. There are a few short tears and a centerfold separation in the blank margins that have been closed with archival tape.

Estimate: $450 - $550


Closed on 6/9/2021