Georg Braun

(1541–1622)

Georg Braun (1541–1622) and Franz Hogenberg (1535–1590)

Originally from Munich, but settled in Mechelen, Hogenberg’s father, Nikolaus (died 1539), had also been an engraver, best known for his series commemorating the crowning of Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor. However, he died when Hogenberg was very young, and it fell to his stepfather, cartographer Hendrik Terbruggen, to teach Hogenberg and his older brother Remigius (born 1536), the tools of their trade.

Braun and Hogenberg, whose names have since become synonymous with their great atlas of city views, Civitates orbis terrarrum’ (1572–1617), may have met in Antwerp, where Hogenberg had been working as an engraver for publishers Hieronymus Cock, Christopher Plantijn, and Abraham Ortelius, when Braun had stayed in the city between 1566 and 1568. However, following the Duke of Alba’s invasion the city in 1567, the protestant Hogenberg sought refuge in London. By 1570 Hogenberg was in Cologne, and the idea of an atlas of city views to complement Ortelius’s Theatrum…’ was born: local catholic clergyman and scholar, Braun, the author and commissioning editor; and Hogenberg the chief engraver, supervising the huge team of artists and engravers who contributed to the project, including Jacob van Deventer and Georg Hoefnagel. 

The work was a great success, providing status and prosperity for Hogenberg, who was purchased a substantial property in Cologne in 1585. He had two sons from two marriages: Johann Hogenberg, also an engraver, and Abraham who worked on the later volume of the Civitates…’. His second wife, Agnes Lomar, succeeded him in his business affairs, when he died in 1590. When the sixth, and final volume, of the Civitates…’ was published in 1617, Braun’s name no longer appears. Whether this was because his faculties were failing him in his advanced years, or whether he had been coerced by religious authority to return to more pastoral duties, is not clear.