Large-scale panoramic view of Venice, by Friedrich Bernhard Werner, who made a large series of engravings of European cities in this format. Depicting the city from a slight elevation, not quite a bird’s-eye view, but related to the tradition of earlier cartography that combined maps and landscape drawing published by Braun & Hogenberg (1572-1617), Jan Jansson (1596-1664) and others. Werner includes a numbered key at the bottom of the map identifying important sites and buildings. The large size of the print allows considerable architectural and landscape detail, extending even to the delineation of farm buildings, boats and individual trees. These views were issued by various publishers in Augsburg, Germany, a major European publishing center in the 18th century, but were always published as separately issued prints rather than in books or atlases. Both our Paris and Venice views have backstrips for mounting in a binding, evidently added by a past owner. The pages also have watermarks.
The city of Venice is depicted from the harbor, showing boats and islands in the foreground, and the shoreline and skyline in the distance. In the skies above, the Venetian coat of arms and a golden ribbon bearing the title "Venice" float before scattered clouds. Important sites and buildings are identified in a numbered key below. The large size of the print allows considerable architectural and landscape detail. This view was made from on site drawings: Werner wrote in his autobiography of a trip to Venice in 1730 to make views for Augsburg publishers.
Friedrich Bernhard Werner was a German printmaker, draftsman and writer of chronicles; Bénézit states he was born in Reichenau, other sources indicate Silesia. As a young man he lived an itinerant and rather bohemian existence as a writer, translator and working in theater. Eventually he settled in Augsburg, where he drew views for the publishing houses of a Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756), Johann Christian Leopold (1699-1755) and Jeremias Wolff (1663-1724). From 1729, he specialized in panoramic views of towns and he traveled around Europe making nearly 100 views for the Augsburg publishers known as the “Wolff heirs,” which included members of the Probst family and their brother-in-law’s father, Johann Georg Hertel. From the 1740s he settled in Breslau as scenographer to the court of Prussia. In this period of his life he also produced a five-part topographical work on the Duchy of Silesia with some 3,000 pages of manuscript and 1,400 colored ink drawings.
Augsburg was a major European publishing center in the 17th and 18th centuries, and as proprietors died, their plates frequently were taken over and reprinted by other firms, often relatives with similar names, which has left many of the maps and prints produced there with complicated publication histories. In the case of Werner, his maps were published by a variety of Augsburg firms, and the ones shown here bear the names of different firms: Johann Friedrich Probst and Johann Georg Hertel. Both were mid-18th-century Augsburg firms that acquired parts of the business started by Jeremias Wolff (1663-1724). After Wolff's death his firm was continued as “Wolff’s Heirs” (Haeres Jer. Wolffii) by his son-in-law Johann Balthasar Probst (1689-1750). After Probst’s death in 1750, his descendants divided the business and published under their own imprints: Johann Friedrich Probst (1721-1781), Georg Balthasar Probst (1732-1801) and Johann Michael Probst. Another part of the Wolff-Probst firm was acquired by the Augsburg publisher Johann Georg Hertel (1700-1775), whose son Georg Leopold Hertel had married a sister of the Probsts.
Inscription, Paris: "F.B. Werner Siles. delin.; Joh. Georg Hertel excud. Aug. Vind."
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol 8, p. 716.
“Friedrich Bernhard Werner.” Wikipedia. 22 December 2005. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Bernhard_Werner (9 March 2006).
Ritter, Michael. [Maphist] “Re: Friedrich Bernhard Werner panoramic maps of cities.” 6 March 2006 and 7 March 2006. MapHist Mailing List. List Information: http://www.maphist.info. (7 March 2006).