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Old color example of Braun & Hogenberg's views of the cities of Orvieto and Loreto, in Italy.

From Braun & Hogenberg's Civitatus Orbis Terrarum, the most important book of town plans and views published in the 16th Century.


View of Orvieto from the southwest, showing the distinctive city rock and characteristic dynastic towers. The magnificent façade of the cathedral of Santa Maria is easily recognizable on the right. Its construction was begun in 1290 following the Miracle of Bolsena (1293), in which blood dripped out of a consecrated host during transubstantiation. Among other things, this miracle gave rise to the feast of Corpus Christi. Orvieto probably developed out of the Etruscan city of Velzna, which was captured by the Romans in 264 BC. They subsequently called it Urbs vetus ("Old City"), which then became Orivetum, and Orvieto.


View of Loreto from the southwest. Inside the town walls there are a few houses grouped around the basilica. The view shows the Santa Casa, the Holy House, which is said to have been brought to Loreto from Nazareth by angels in 1294. It is believed to be the house in which Mary was born and in which the Annunciation by the angel took place.

Condition Description
Old color. Minor toning and evidence of a prior framing.
Georg Braun Biography

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 Biography

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.