Striking panoramic view of early 17th-century Paris, providing a fine contemporary visual record by one of the great engravers of his time.
Paris is shown as seen from present-day Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, looking towards the southwest, over the Hospitale de S. Louis, to the vast but now long-vanished fortifications of Etienne Marcel, across the city, Notre Dame just left of center, the Louvre and the Tuileries gardens to the right, continuing across the Seine to the left-bank and the open countryside beyond. The foreground includes a back-view self-portrait of the artist seated on a boulder sketching.
The view appeared in Merian's Topographia Franconiae, published in Frankfurt between 1648 and 1656, with text by Martin Zeiler.
Mathaus Merian (1593-1650) was the father of engraver Matthäus the Younger, and of the painter, engraver, and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. He was born in Basel, Switzerland and trained in engraving in Zurich. After a time in Nancy, Paris and Strasbourg, he settled in Frankfurt. While there, he worked for Johann Theodor de Bry, the publisher and son of the travel writer. In 1617, he married Maria Magdalena de Bry, Johann Theodor’s daughter. In 1623, Merian took over the de Bry publishing house upon the death of his father-in-law. Merian’s best known works are detailed town views which, due to their accuracy and artistry, form a valuable record of European urban life in the first half of the sixteenth century