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Town atlas, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1575-1593. 1710


Civitates Orbis Terrarium. Part I, II and III in 1 vol. Cologne, Gottfried von Kempen (Part I & II) and Bertram Buchholtz (Part III), 1593.

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Item Number:  24226
Category:  Books > Atlases

The most famous cities atlas: Braun and Hogenberg's magnificent collection of town map engravings

Civitates Orbis Terrarium. Part I, II and III in 1 vol. Cologne, Gottfried von Kempen (Part I & II), 1575 and Bertram Buchholtz (Part III), 1593.
Latin text. With 3 engraved title-pages, 176 engraved plates, depicting 300 cities (one plate with coat of arms): detailed perspective town plans and views, all beautiful coloured by contemporary hands. Calf binding, restored, new spine (original spine preserved), covers gilt paneled with central arabesque motifs.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, published in Cologne between 1572 and 1617, is the most famous of the early town atlases. The Civitates was, like Ortelius' Theatrum, one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Although it had no comparable predecessor, it immediately answered a great public demand because social, political and economic life at that time was concentrated in cities. Apart from that, the pictorial style of the plans and views appealed very much to the uneducated public.
For many cities, these are the first plans and views ever published. Many of them include figures in the foreground showing local costumes or other regional details.
The first volume was published in 1572. Ultimately the publication would consist of six folio parts with a total of 363 plates of 543 town illustrations. Since each part has its own title and there is no title for the entire set, the title of the first part, Civitates orbis terrarum, is often used as a pars-pro-toto title. But even more often we see the series denoted by the names of the most important compilers - the "Braun & Hogenberg". Georg Braun was the editor of this series, and Frans Hogenberg was the most important engraver. They relied mainly on existing maps, but also on drawings made by the Antwerp artist Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who had travelled through most of Western Europe. After Joris Hoefnagel's death his son Jakob continued the work for the "Civitates". Another important source for maps was the Danish cartographer Heinrich van Rantzau (Rantzovius - 1526-1599), who provided maps of Northern Europe, specially of Danish cities. Other sources were the maps of Sebastian Munster from around 1550 and unpublished works of Jacob van Deventer(1505-1575), and of over a hundred other artists and engravers.

Each time a new volume was published, there was a new edition of the previous volumes. The present copy is a three volume edition.

Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.1 (1575), 41:1.2 (1575), 41:1.3 (1593)