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The First Printed View of Warsaw
One of the Scarcest of Braun & Hogenberg’s City Views

Warsaw. BRAUN, G. & HOGENBERG, F. [Cologne, 1617/1618]
Varsovia. 13 x 16 ¼ inches.
Fine early color; fine condition.


A very attractive example of this evocative panorama of Warsaw, viewed from the east bank of the Vistula River, just prior to the city’s elevation to royal seat and capital. Though this view was published in 1617, it shows the city at a somewhat earlier period. The Royal Palace, started in 1598, does not appear, and the Church of St. John still has its steeple (which collapsed in 1602), so the view cannot have been composed later than that. On the other hand, spanning the bustling river is the 1600-foot-long Sigismund Augustus bridge, which was built between 1568 and 1573. Given that King Sigismund Augustus’ arms appear to the upper left of the view, it seems right to say that the view shows Warsaw as it was near the end of his reign, which lasted from 1548 to 1569.
Varsovia appeared in the last volume of Braun & Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Though the first edition was published in 1572, the entire six-volume work was not complete until 1617. The views and plans appearing in the later volumes, having had fewer editions, are now among the scarcest of Braun & Hogenberg’s works.

Malinowsky collection M 660; van der Krogt 4780, 41; Goss, plate 58.

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