One of the Earliest Modern Plans of Paris
Fine example of this inconic plan of 16th Century Paris, which appeared in volume 1 of Braun & Hogenberg's 6 volume Civititas Orbis Terrarum.
This plan is copied from the "Premier Plan" from c. 1530, which Sebastien Münster also used in a smaller representation for his Cosmographia, 1569. All the 16th-century representations of Paris are attributed to the "Premier Plan", which is supposed to have measured approximately 5 x 4 m and to have been made between 1523 and 1530. Two city gates that were built by Philip II, Augustus, in 1180, feature in the illustration, although they were demolished c. 1530.
Paris began as a small settlement on an island in the Seine, named Lutetia, by the Gallii Parisii. This island, seen at the center of the map, controlled the trade in the region both along the river and via the north-south roads crossing the island. Paris grew through successive periods, with walls, citadels, and forts added through a series of expansions. The Bastille is shown at the upper center of the engraving and the Cathedral of Notre Dame is on the eastern end of the island.
The plan is oriented with east at the top.
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.
Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1540-ca. 1590) was a Flemish and German engraver and mapmaker who also painted. He was born in Mechelen, south of Antwerp, the son of wood engraver and etcher Nicolas Hogenberg. Together with his father, brother (Remigius), uncle, and cousins, Frans was one member of a prominent artistic family in the Netherlands.
During the 1550s, Frans worked in Antwerp with the famous mapmaker Abraham Ortelius. There, he engraved the maps for Ortelius’ groundbreaking first atlas, published in Antwerp in 1570, along with Johannes van Deotecum and Ambrosius and Ferdinand Arsenius. It is suspected he engraved the title page as well. Later, Ortelius supported Hogenberg with information for a different project, the Civitates orbis terrarium (edited by Georg Braun, engraved by Hogenberg, published in six volumes, Cologne, 1572-1617). Hogenberg engraved the majority of the work’s 546 prospects and views.
It is possible that Frans spent some time in England while fleeing from religious persecution, but he was living and working in Cologne by 1580. That is the city where he died around 1590. In addition to his maps, he is known for his historical allegories and portraits. His brother, Remigius, also went on to some fame as an engraver, and he died around the same time as his brother.