Old color example of Braun & Hogenberg's views of Urbino and Sulmona.
This view of Urbino has been reduced to two views. The upper view is from the Southwest and shows the Palazzo Ducale built into the slope. Directly behind it appears the tower of the cathedral. In the foreground is the Porta Valbona, with the main axis of the city leading to the 14th-century church of San Francesco and, therefore, to the center of the Old Town. In the lower image, the view is from the northeast, with Porta Lavigne in the foreground.
Founded by the Romans, Urbino was a fief of the Counts of Montefeltro, who ruled Urbino from 1444 to 1482.
On the right is the city of Sulmona, surrounded by 14th-century fortifications, as viewed from the northwest. In the center of the town are the church and palace of Santissima Annunziata, above which is San Francesco della Scarpa with the Portale di San Francesco. Above these are the church of Santa Maria della Tomba, which was built on the site of the temple to Jupiter.
Sulmona was the birthplace of the Roman poet Ovid (b. 43 BC), whose work was revered by Renaissance humanists.
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.
Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1540-ca. 1590) was a Flemish and German engraver and mapmaker who also painted. He was born in Mechelen, south of Antwerp, the son of wood engraver and etcher Nicolas Hogenberg. Together with his father, brother (Remigius), uncle, and cousins, Frans was one member of a prominent artistic family in the Netherlands.
During the 1550s, Frans worked in Antwerp with the famous mapmaker Abraham Ortelius. There, he engraved the maps for Ortelius’ groundbreaking first atlas, published in Antwerp in 1570, along with Johannes van Deotecum and Ambrosius and Ferdinand Arsenius. It is suspected he engraved the title page as well. Later, Ortelius supported Hogenberg with information for a different project, the Civitates orbis terrarium (edited by Georg Braun, engraved by Hogenberg, published in six volumes, Cologne, 1572-1617). Hogenberg engraved the majority of the work’s 546 prospects and views.
It is possible that Frans spent some time in England while fleeing from religious persecution, but he was living and working in Cologne by 1580. That is the city where he died around 1590. In addition to his maps, he is known for his historical allegories and portraits. His brother, Remigius, also went on to some fame as an engraver, and he died around the same time as his brother.