Decorative view of 16th-century Jerusalem, as viewed from the east, probably from the vantage point of the Mount of Olives.
The view is likely based on a drawing by Venetian artist Domenico dalle Greche, who accompanied a Czech nobleman, Voldrich Prefat z Vlkanova, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1546. A key in the cartouche at right identifies 48 points of interest, the majority of which refer to Christian sites and traditions. At the top is a Latin verse from the Prophet Ezekiel: Ezekiel, "This is Jerusalem! I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her." The dominance of Islam during the period during which this view was created is represented by the five figures in the foreground and the buildings with minarets topped with crescents, the most prominent of which is the Dome of the Rock.
This view is from Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum, the most important book of town plans and views published in the 16th century.
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.