Civitates orbis terrarum
by Braun and Hogenberg
The first volume of
the Civitates Orbis Terrarum was published in Cologne in 1572. The sixth
and the final volume appeared in 1617.
This great city
atlas, edited by Georg Braun and largely engraved by Franz Hogenberg, eventually
contained 546 prospects, bird-eye views and map views of cities from all over
the world. Braun (1541-1622), a cleric of Cologne, was the principal editor of
the work, and was greatly assisted in his project by the close, and continued
interest of Abraham Ortelius, whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1570 was, as a
systematic and comprehensive collection of maps of uniform style, the first true
indeed, was intended as a companion for the Theatrum, as indicated by the
similarity in the titles and by contemporary references regarding the
complementary nature of two works. Nevertheless, the Civitates was designs to be
more popular in approach, no doubt because the novelty of a collection of city
plans and views represented a more hazardous commercial undertaking than a world
atlas, for which there had been a number of successful precedents. Franz
Hogenberg (1535-1590) was the son of a Munich engraves who settled in Malines.
He engraved most of the plates for Ortelius's Theatrum and the majority of those
in the Civitates, and may have been responsible for originating the project.
Over a hundred of
different artists and cartographers, the most significant of whom was Antwerp
artist Georg (Joris) Hoefnagel (1542-1600), engraved the cooper-plates of the
Civitates from drawings. He not only contributed most of the original material
for the Spanish and Italian towns but also reworked and modified those of other
contributors. After Hoefnagel's death his son Jakob continued the work for the
Civitates. A large number of Jacob van Deventer (1505-1575), also known as Jacob
Roelofszof, unpublished works, plans of towns of the Netherlands were copied, as
were Stumpf's woodcuts from the Schweizer Chronik of 1548, and Munster's German
views from the 1550 and 1572 editions of his Cosmographia. Another important
source for maps was the Danish cartographer Heinrich van Rantzau (1526-1599),
beter known under his Latin name Rantzovius, who provided maps of Northern
Europe, specially of Danish cities. The Civitates provided a uniquely
comprehensive view of urban life at the turn of the sixteenth century. Other
sources were the maps of Sebastian Munster from around 1550 and , and of.
Braun added to the
maps figures in local dress. This feature was anticipated in Hans Lautensack's
etched view of Nuremberg, 1552, those groups of citizens in the rural foreground
add further authenticity to the highly accurate topographical details of what
was effectively Germany's cultural capital at that time. Braun's motives for
adding figures to the views, however, went further: as stated in his
introduction to book 1, he believed, perhaps optimistically, that his plans
would not in consequence be scrutinized for military secrets by the Turks, as
their religion forbade them from looking on representations of the human form.
The plans, each
accompanies by Braun's printed account of the town's history, situation and
commerce, form an armchair traveler's compendium, which the scholar Robert
Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621 asserted would not.