Braun & Hogenberg's Plan of Paris
"Lutetia vulgari Nomine Paris, Urbs Galliae Maxima, Sequana Navigabili Flumine Irrigatur…", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Paris, France
Period: 1575 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. I
Color: Hand Color
19.1 x 13.6 inches
48.5 x 34.5 cm
Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum or "Cities of the World" was published between 1572 and 1617. Within the six volumes, 531 towns and cities were depicted on 363 plates, providing the reader with the pleasures of travel without the attendant discomforts. Braun wrote in the preface to the third book, "What could be more pleasant than, in one's own home far from all danger, to gaze in these books at the universal form of the earth . . . adorned with the splendor of cities and fortresses and, by looking at pictures and reading the texts accompanying them, to acquire knowledge which could scarcely be had but by long and difficult journeys?" Braun and Hogenberg incorporated an astonishing wealth of information into each scene beyond the city layout and important buildings. The plates provide an impression of the economy and prominent occupations, and illustrate local costumes, manners and customs.
This great city plan is based on Sebastian Munster's map of 1569. 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. The city grew through successive periods, with walls, citadels, and forts added through a series of expansions. Braun and Hogenberg's plan captures the city before it flourished into a world-class capital city under the reign of Henry IV. The Bastille is shown at the upper center of the engraving, and the great Notre-Dame cathedral is on the eastern end of the present-day Île de la Cité. The plan is oriented with north on the left. Three figures in the bottom left corner model the Spanish styles then fashionable in France. French text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 61-63; Goss (Cities) pp. 94-95.
There is light toning, minor soiling, and a short centerfold separation that is confined to the bottom blank margin.