Geometric Map

In 1802, Lequeu was reassigned to an office responsible for cartography in the department of the interior, where he would spend years shifting between positions as a geographical draftsman. Among his responsibilities were new maps of Paris, which were necessitated by Napoleon’s reorganization of the city. In this drawing, produced around the same time, Lequeu indulged in the opposite of documenting the urban fabric: he created a bird’s-eye view of an imaginary landscape with a sinuous river and undulating topography. The artist curiously “signed” the drawing with the playing card at lower left, which contains a pun on the sound of his name: The Heart, or Le Cœur.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Geometric Map, 1801
Pen and black ink, watercolor
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie