“Die statt Paris…” Basle: Sebastian Münster, c. 1550. Woodcut with later hand-coloring. From Cosmographica. Text: German. (Ref: Skelton, Decorative Printed Maps, Pl. #9 - illustrated). In excellent condition, double folio with centerfold as issued. (Image : 9 7/8 x 14’’)
One of the earliest printed views of Paris: This detailed woodcut depicts the city of Paris bounded by the semi-circular wall built by Philippe Auguste (1180-1210), with outer ramparts built by Charles V & Charles VI (1337-1422). Notre-Dame, the symbol of Paris, is located on the Île de la Cité near the center of the woodcut. Top left is the “key” framed in acanthus leaves, and top right, a shield of fleurs-de-lis. Two gallows are conspicuous among the perspective details (lower right corner & left edge center). Fences indicate the enclosed land outside the city.
Münster was an eminent Renaissance scholar & map-maker. “The names of three cartographers dominate the 16th century: Mercator, Ortelius and Münster, and of these three Münster probably had the widest influence in spreading geographical knowledge throughout Europe...” (Antique Maps, Moreland & Bannister, p.78).