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THE SCENOGRAPHIC PLAN OF THE CITY OF LYON

Room 6, Image of the city during the Renaissance, Inv. N 1675

The scenographic plan of Lyon is a highly accurate plan that depicts the city during the 16th century. The various buildings are portrayed in 2 dimensions. One particular feature of the plan is that the size of the buildings does not decrease with distance. This is known as the cavalier perspective or high view point.

On looking at this plan in the archive registers, we can see that the location of most of the dwellings is accurate. It respects the social hierarchy of the types of constructions and shows scenes of daily life that could only be reproduced by someone with a thorough knowledge of Lyon.

This great precision dates the drawing of the plan between 1548 and 1553. It was probably printed around 1559, at the end of the reign of King Henry II (1547-1559).

Printed from a copper-plate engraving, it comprises 25 separate sheets, which, overall, form a rectangle 1.70 m high and 2.20 m wide.

The only known example is held at the Lyon Municipal Archives. The object exhibited in the museum is a facsimile of the 1559 plan. Produced between 1872 and 1876 by engravers Séon and Dubouchet for the Société de topographie historique de Lyon (Lyon Historical Topography Society), it is one of the rare copies retained out of the 300 printed in the 19th century.

See the detailed sheet