Prospectus Areae Fori Veteris, Ex Parte Arcis Plateae Dresdae.
Augsburg, Georg Balthasar, [c.1770]. Original hand-coloured copper engraving of Dresden’s marketplace. Plate Size: 40 cm x 30 cm. Sheet Size: 42 cm x 31 cm. Original engraving. In very good- condition. Some slight smudges to outer margins. Carefully repaired tear to lower edge.
Beautiful copper engraving showing the panoramic view (vue d’optique) of the Altmarkt Square in 18th Century Dresden. Markets, festivities, tournaments and games were staged here and important historical events also turned the Altmarkt square into one of the social centres in town. During the bombing raids of February 1945 the historical Altmarkt square was completely destroyed.
Here the Altmarkt is captured in a more peaceful time with people coming and going around the stalls and markets in the early hours of a dawning day. The artist’s use of shadowing and light is attention grabbing. In the middle background the dome and steeple of the famous Frauenkirche can be seen.
Beneath the illustration, the title and text – in Latin, French, Italian and German – reads as follows:″Prospectus Areae Fori veteris, ex parte Arcis Plateae Dresdae. Vüe de la Grande Place du vieux Marche, du cote de la Rue du Chateau Royal de Dresde. Veduta della grand Piazza del Mercato vecchio, della parte della Strada di Castello Reale a Dresda. Gesicht des großen Plaz der Alte Marck genannt, von Seiten der Schloß Graßen zu Dreßen. Georg Balthaser Probst excud. A. V. Median Folo. No. 7., 77.″
From about 1740 to about 1820 optical prints, also called “vue optique” or “vue d’optique” prints were made to be viewed through a Zograscope, or other devices of convex lens and mirror, all of which produced optical illusion of depth. Intaglio optical prints have exaggerated converging lines and bright hand-colours which contribute to the illusion of depth. Typically the legends of optical prints have reversed words along the top edge as those would be seen though the scope, but words on the bottom of the prints are normal. (Wikipedia)
Georg Balthasar Probst (1732-1801) was a German engraver and print publisher working in Augsburg between 1766-1790.