This print shows Antwerp in 1521, as seen from the place known at that time as Vlaams Hoofd and now as Linkeroever. It glorifies the city on the Scheldt as an important economic and cultural centre. A scroll or banderole near the Church of Our Lady reads ‘Antverpia mercatorum emporium’ (‘Antwerp: the merchants’ emporium’).
As well as painting for Balthasar I Moretus, Rubens also designed printer’s marks. This design was used for the title page of the second volume of the Opera omnia, (collected works) of the humanist Justus Lipsius.
This famous woodcut by Virgilius Bononiensis shows Antwerp in 1565. Bononiensis – or Boloniensis – may have been an Italian from Bologna. The rich trading city of Antwerp attracted many Europeans in the 16th century.