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Vilnius, by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg. 1581

CARTOUCHE: Vilnius, capital of Lithuania.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Vilnius is a large, densely populated episcopal city in the Duchy of Lithuania. The city is enclosed within a wall and gates, which are no longer sufficient; all the houses in it are made of wood, very low, and altogether very plain except for certain streets in which foreign merchants have erected handsome houses made of stone. There are two royal palaces, one very spacious and famous for its halls. The other palace is on a hill, and one can see very far from its towers. Here there is also a magnificent monastery dedicated to St Bernard."

This is a bird's-eye view of Vilnius. The rows of houses are sketched very simply. Starting in the 15th century, Vilnius experienced a period of prosperity, ending in the 16th century when the city came under Polish influence (1569). In 1570, during the Counter-Reformation, a Jesuit college was established that was expanded into a university in 1579 by the Polish king Stephen Bathory. The Upper Castle of Gediminas, on the hill of the same name that can be seen on the left beside the River Neris, has been preserved as a ruin and is the city's landmark; other buildings that stand out in the sea of houses include the late Gothic brick building of the church of St John (14) and the monastery of St Bernard (12). The town hall (18) was destroyed by armed conflict; today's Neoclassical building dates from the 18th century and houses the city's art museum. Vilnius is today the capital of Lithuania. (Taschen)


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver of numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.

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Vilna Lituaniae Metropolis.

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Item Number:  29163  new
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Eastern Europe
References: Van der Krogt 4 - #4715; Fauser - #15514; Taschen (Br. Hog.) - p. 257

Old, antique bird’s-eye view plan of Vilnius, by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

Title: Vilna Lituaniae Metropolis.

Date of the first edition: 1581.
Date of this map: 1581.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 370 x 505mm (14.57 x 19.88 inches).
Verso: Latin text.
Condition: Original coloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A+.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum. . Liber tertius. Cologne, Gottfried von Kempen, 1581. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.3)

CARTOUCHE: Vilnius, capital of Lithuania.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Vilnius is a large, densely populated episcopal city in the Duchy of Lithuania. The city is enclosed within a wall and gates, which are no longer sufficient; all the houses in it are made of wood, very low, and altogether very plain except for certain streets in which foreign merchants have erected handsome houses made of stone. There are two royal palaces, one very spacious and famous for its halls. The other palace is on a hill, and one can see very far from its towers. Here there is also a magnificent monastery dedicated to St Bernard."

This is a bird's-eye view of Vilnius. The rows of houses are sketched very simply. Starting in the 15th century, Vilnius experienced a period of prosperity, ending in the 16th century when the city came under Polish influence (1569). In 1570, during the Counter-Reformation, a Jesuit college was established that was expanded into a university in 1579 by the Polish king Stephen Bathory. The Upper Castle of Gediminas, on the hill of the same name that can be seen on the left beside the River Neris, has been preserved as a ruin and is the city's landmark; other buildings that stand out in the sea of houses include the late Gothic brick building of the church of St John (14) and the monastery of St Bernard (12). The town hall (18) was destroyed by armed conflict; today's Neoclassical building dates from the 18th century and houses the city's art museum. Vilnius is today the capital of Lithuania. (Taschen)


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver of numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.

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