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Parys: Merian c. 1650

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  • Title: Parys
  • Author: Matthäus Merian
  • Date: c. 1650
  • Medium: Copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Strong, dark impression, wide-margined example, two joined sheets. One or two archival repairs to minor marginal splits and a few very small edge chips entirely confined to the blank margins. Pleasant age toning.
  • Inches: 27 x 10.6 [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 68.58 x 26.92 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 311015

Paris is shown as seen from present day Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, looking towards the south west, over the Hospitale de S. Louis, to the vast but now long-vanished fortifications of Etienne Marcel, across the city, the Bastille at far left, 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. With numbered key to 56 locations including La Sarbonne, Faubourg St. Jaques, Les Capucins. 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.

Matthaus Merian the Elder was born in Basel, Switzerland on the 22nd of September 1593. He began his career in the arts with the engraver Friedrich Meyer in Zurich, where he studied copper engraving as well as drawing. In 1619 he went to Frankfurt and was employed by the well-known publisher Johann Theodor de Bry. He would go on to take over and complete two works started in 1590 by de Bry, Grand Voyages and Petit Voyages respectively. Merian the Elder is perhaps most known for the work he produced in partnership with Martin Zeiller titled Topographia, one of the largest publishing works at the time, which ultimately totaled 21 volumes. The work was continued by Merian’s sons Matthaus the Younger and Caspar upon his death in June of 1650.