Braun and Hogenberg, Civitates orbis terrarum (1572-1618)

Cities of Czaslavia and Commoda (1617)

The popular Civitates orbis terrarum was compiled by Georg Braun (1541-1622) of Cologne and Frans Hogenberg (1535-1622) of Mechlen, Belgium, and includes maps of over 500 cities, most of which are European. The book was such a commercial success that it was reprinted repeatedly over forty-five years and expanded by its editors to six volumes. Hogenberg helped compile the plates for the volumes and personally engraved 363 of the plates, many from the drawings of the artist Jovis Hoefnagel (1542-1600) and later from those of Hoefnagel's son Jacob.

Most of the maps are oblique or bird's-eye views depicting the roads, streets, and prominent buildings, churches, and monuments of each city. The wealth of detail in these images suggests the economic vitality of each town and the status and costume of citizens from all sectors of society. The idealized tranquility of each city belies the fact that the maps were made during violent wars of religion and independence.

City of Venice (1617)

The view of Venice is that of 1565 by Bolognino Zaltieri (fl. 1560-80))—a feast for the eyes reflecting the wealth and architectural richness of the Serenissima. It references 188 buildings, bridges, and areas of the city by number, and it individually identifies many more of the canals, churches, and surrounding islands. Few have changed today. The image is a celebration of the city's political power as much as a spatial guide to its monuments and form. The wide variety of ships in the image underscores Venice's naval and economic dominance in the Adriatic. The political identity of the city is emphasized by the inclusion of a ceremonial procession of the Doge and members of the patriciate Senate of the city, here shown in formal dress, depicted in the center insert in the image's lower panel.

Courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society