By: Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg
Date: 1574 (Published) Cologne
Dimensions: 12.6 x 18.4 inches (32 x 46.74 cm)
These engravings are from an early edition of Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum, the most prolific compilation of city views published in the 16th Century, and provide bird’s eye views of the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg and Lübeck.
Lübeck is the former capital and Queen City of the Hanseatic League. Founded in the 12th century, it prospered until the 16th century as the major trading center for northern Europe, and it has remained a hub for maritime commerce to this day, particularly with the Nordic countries.
Despite the damage it suffered during the Second World War, the basic structure of the old city, consisting mainly of 15th and 16th century patrician residences, public monuments including the famous Holstentor brick gate, churches and salt storehouses, remains unaltered. Up to the present day, its layout is clearly recognisable as a harmonious, complete masterpiece and its uniquely uniform silhouette is visible from afar. The old city is so well-preserved that Braun and Hogenberg’s view would serve as a guide through the city center today.
Located on the Elbe River in northern Germany, Hamburg is another member city of the ancient Hanseatic League, and is Germany’s largest port city. Hamburg has a long tradition of particularism and self-government, rivaled only by that of Bremen, the same Bremen made famous by the Brothers Grimm and a certain group of musicians.
Both cities are known for being possessed of an independent spirit, and both pride themselves in this heritage. Braun and Hogenberg’s depiction reveals a wealthy and self-contained city, with an impressive number (at least nine) of imposing religious edifices, each of which is named. Seagoing vessels of myriad forms ply the water near the city, and a variety of livestock indicating the practice of animal husbandry graze on a stretch of land in front of the city proper, where also are depicted pillory stocks and a gibbet.
Latin commentary by Braun on the verso provides additional information regarding the cities.
Condition: This hand colored engraving is in B condition. Small section of thinning of paper in the image, some foxing, and soiling in the margins.
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