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Cartographica Helvetica


Regine Gerhardt:

Henry IV reflected in the cartography of his capital – Paris as a royal projection

Cartographica Helvetica 33 (2006) 21–33


Henry IV (1553–1610, king of France since 1589), did not only distinguish himself as a successful commander who ended the religious war in France and managed to reunite the country, but also as a powerful monarch who established central governmental power and commissioned innovative architectural projects. The significance that Paris represented in Henry's career is reflected in the cartographic image of the city. Henry not only set visual examples of his rule in the topography of Paris, but his entire governmental program was projected onto the city. Three selected examples during the reign of Henry IV and that of his son Louis XIII (1601–1643, on the throne since 1610) cast light on the function of the cartographic representation of Paris as a political instrument by which specific royal images and concrete political messages were communicated. The different views of the city and the bird's-eye-view of the French capital show the "View of Paris" as the figurative production of royal authority.

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