1638 Merian View of Paris, France

Paris-merian-1638-2
$3,000.00
Parys. - Main View
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1638 Merian View of Paris, France

Paris-merian-1638-2

First plate of the elder Merian's self-referential panorama of Paris.
$3,000.00

Title


Parys.
  1638 (undated)     10.5 x 27.5 in (26.67 x 69.85 cm)

Description


This is a 1638 Matthaus Merian view of Paris, France - arguably the most desirable of Merian's panoramas, in that it is also a self-portrait. The view is oriented to the southwest, showcasing the Hôpital Saint-Louis with the city laid out beyond it. The view was probably drawn from atop the Chauve-mont, now the site of Paris' Parc des Buttes Chaumont; it was almost certainly drawn by Merian himself: the view bears the Latin inscription Math. Merian as vivum delineav. To underline this, Merian has included himself in the picture, seated upon a rock sketching the view before him. Rather than border the view with stylized or fanciful floral decoration, Merian has chosen to frame the panorama in realistic semi-wild trees and bracken of the hillside from which he drew the view, again emphasize that it was drawn from life.

And it is a remarkable view! Fifty-six structures and places are listed below the view with a number key: Notre Dame can be easily found, as can be La Bastille, and other structures both inside and outside the city walls. The Seine can be seen, winding through the city and off into the distance. Diminuitive figures can be seen moving along the roads and on the grounds of the Hôpital Saint-Louis, on foot, horseback and carriage.
Publication History and Census
This view was created by Matthaus Merian for inclusion in his Archontologia cosmica, published in Frankfurt am Main, in 1638 with further editions noted in 1646 and 1649. After his death, his son Caspar re-engraved this view to a second plate. This latter view includes a note dating it to 1620; although it removes the 'ad vivum' note of the original, it does retain the self-portrait of the elder Merian. Caspar produced a further view, dated 1654 and showing a different perspective. This first plate is catalogued in eight institutional collections in OCLC.

Cartographer


Matthäus Merian (September 22, 1593 - June 19, 1650), sometimes referred to as 'the Elder' to distinguish from his son, was an important Swiss engraver and cartographer active in the early to mid 17th century. Merian was born in Basel and studied engraving in the centers of Zurich, Strasbourg, Nancy and Paris. In time Merian was drawn to the publishing mecca of Frankfurt, where he met Johann Theodor de Bry, son of the famed publisher Theodor de Bry (1528 - 1598) . Merian and De Bry produced a number of important joint works and, in 1617, Merian married De Bry's daughter Maria Magdalena. In 1623 De Bry died and Merian inherited the family firm. Merian continued to publish under the De Bry's name until 1626. Around this time, Merian became a citizen of Frankfurt as such could legally work as an independent publisher. The De Bry name is therefore dropped from all of Merian's subsequent work. Of this corpus, which is substantial, Merian is best known for his finely engraved and highly detailed town plans and city views. Merian is considered one of the grand masters of the city view and a pioneer of the axonometric projection. Merian died in 1650 following several years of illness. He was succeeded in the publishing business by his two sons, Matthäus (1621 - 1687) and Caspar (1627 - 1686), who published his great works, the Topographia and Theatrum Eruopeaum, under the designation Merian Erben (Merian Heirs). Merian daughter, Anna Maria Sibylla Merian, became an important naturalist and illustrator. Today the German Travel Magazine Merian is named after the famous engraver. Learn More...

Source


Merian, M. Archontologia cosmica sive imperiorum (Frankfurt am Main), 1638.    

Condition


Very good. Printed to two separate plates, joined at publication. Marginal mend to fold away from printed image. Else excellent.

References


OCLC 500600151. c.f. Rumsey 13088.076 (Plate 2, c. 1660).