Nice Chorographies Overview

The collection of Nice chorographies has fewer views than both the Boston and Ceuta selections, but offers a pattern of what geographic features chorographies of Nice focus on. The earliest view in the collection is a 1543 engraving by the Italian Ena Vico looking at Nice from the sea. The work depicts Nice under attack and also includes the nearby city of Villefranche to the east. The large number of galleys in the Ligurian sea, whether defenders or besiegers, also highlights the importance of Nice’s position on the Mediterranean. The 1639 piece by Giacomo Lauro continues this emphasis on the maritime nature of Nice. It depicts figures fishing on the shore as well as a number of galleys and carracks even outside of conflict. It also includes more detailed buildings complete with specifically labeled structures. The 1692 Veue de Nice introduces a new view among the selections that may influence the original chorography, which succeeds it. In this image, Nicolas de Fer depicts Nice from the north west. While the piece still includes ships in the distance, its view shifts the geographical emphasis from the sea to the rolling farmlands and the Paillon River before the city. Anna Beeck’s 1709 work develops a view remarkably similar to that of de Fer’s. Her illustration has an expanded maritime focus, but still places greater emphasis on the farmlands and river like de Fer’s. Moreover, many of the buildings and landscapes are more detailed versions of de Fer’s. For example, the compound at the front of the citadel has the same two small structures and lone tree. Similarly, the farmhouses and fields are almost identical to de Fer’s in number and likeness, except Beek has added 1-2 hills in the foreground to lengthen the distance. Together, the four pieces help illustrate how the geography of a city can influence the perspectives artists employ. In the earlier pieces, Nice’s maritime importance encourages depictions from the sea. Later, the artists’ depiction of farmland previously absent in the other depictions makes the views from the north west more attractive. Finally, Nice’s location at the base and slope of a hill greatly influences which perspectives are viable in the first place. This geographical feature isolates the collections of views to a western semi-circle from which Nice is actually viewable.

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