- Images - Looking at visual imagery (painting, daguerreotypes,
etc.) makes it possible to contrast and compare how different
representations of Paris during the 19th century presented different
visions of reality to the public. The motivations for the those
creating these images, whether they be political or artistic
can be seen by contextualizing images within the history of
- Maps- Maps help to place the geography of the city in an overall
context. However, these also send strong messages about how
one should view the city.
- Hugo's View of Paris - Victor Hugo presents the readers of
Les Miserables with many descriptions of the Paris landscape
and those who lived within it. How did Hugo view the city as
a whole, both physically and socially?
- The Real View of Paris - All of these representations fit
into a larger picture. These representations were based on specific
and tangible places and people in Paris. How do the real places
and people of Paris relate to images presented to the public
in the 19th century?
Below is a simple analysis of two visual images. It shows how
each representation will be discussed throughout this webpage.
"La Cite & Le
Pont-Neuf", M.C. Daubigny. 1867
"Le Pont-Neuf et Le
Louvre", Anton Melbye. 1848
These are two representations of the Pont-Neuf in Paris that
loins la Cite to the mainland of the city. The image on the left
is a drawing by M. C. Daubigny that was included in the Paris
Guide of 1867. The image on the right is a daguerreotype by Anton
Melbye from 1848. Both of these image give detailed accounts of
what the Pont-Neuf would have liked like between 1848 and 1867.
However, there are some subtle differences. The daguerreotype,
by the nature of the medium is a more accurate method of depicting
the bridge than a drawing. It is also interesting to note that
M. Melbye's composition includes a tangle of boats. He might have
chosen this busy spot on purpose to depict the business growing
on the shores of the Seine, or it might have been impossible to
avoid the growing industry.
M. Daubigny's drawing does not include this bustling business,
despite the fact that in the 1860's steamboats would have been
populating the shores of the Seine as they were a mode of transportation.
Daubigny's representation shows only three rowboats tied near
the bank and a team of fishermen dragging a net. Daubigny depicts
a clean, provincial view of Paris while also getting in the grand
buildings in the background. Also, because this drawing was an
illustration is a tour guide, it is safe to say that Daubigny
was presenting a positive view of Paris culture, therefore excluding
the unattractive mass of boats.
This is a quick analysis of two representations of the same area
of Paris. It should give a rough example of how I will present
the different representations of Paris and why they are significant.