Gorgeous 1577 Braun & Hogenberg bird’s-eye-view of Venice.



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SKU: NL-02166 Categories: , Tag:
Date: 1577
Place: Cologne
Dimensions: 48.5 x 33.5 cm (18.8 x 13.1 in)
Condition Rating: VG+


Braun & Hogenberg’s iconic bird’ s-eye view of Venice is a fine engraving featured in the Civitates Orbis Terrarum, a significant 16th-century series of city and town views. The engraving documents the city’s architecture, bridges, and intricate canal network.

Venice was at the height of its power as a major maritime republic and a vital center of commerce and culture. The city had established itself as a dominant force in the Mediterranean, controlling trade routes and exerting influence across Europe and the Near East. Its wealth was derived from its strategic position and robust economy, bolstered by trade in spices, silk, and other luxury goods. Venice was also a hub of artistic and intellectual activity, attracting renowned artists, architects, and scholars. The city’s distinctive political system, led by the Doge and supported by a complex network of councils and magistrates, maintained stability and promoted Venice’s domestic and international interests.

Prominent landmarks are distinctly illustrated, including the Piazza San Marco, with its renowned Basilica di San Marco, the Campanile (bell tower), and the towering columns supporting statues of the Lion of Venice and St. Theodore. Notable structures include the Arsenal, the Rialto Bridge, and the Jewish Ghetto. Surrounding the city, several small islands are depicted and labeled, such as the Island of San Giorgio, notable for its Palladian church and monastery, and Murano, famous for its glass-making workshops. The waterways teem with various vessels, including ships, boats, and gondolas.

Below the cityscape, a vignette portrays a procession led by the Doge of Venice, accompanied by other officials, each identified by their title or role. Flanking the vignette, a numbered key corresponds to numbers on the view, listing 35 principal canals and over 125 structures, including palaces, churches, convents, monasteries, bridges, hospitals, and other significant buildings.


Georg Braun & Franz Hogenberg

Georg Braun (1541 – 10 March 1622) was a topo-geographer. From 1572 to 1617 he edited the Civitates orbis terrarum, which contains 546 prospects, bird’s-eye views and maps of cities from all around the world. He was the principal editor of the work, he acquired the tables, hired the artists, and wrote the texts.

The main engraver for volumes I-IV was Frans Hogenberg (1535–1590), a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker.

Condition Description

Excellent. Minor wear along the centerfold.


Van der Krogt 4, 4607 State 2; Moretto, 26.

Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.112.