Spring 2019

Minard’s retirement plans

The Minard System: The Complete Statistical Graphics of Charles-Joseph Minard, From the Collection of the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées

By Sandra Rendgen. Designed by Benjamin English. Princeton Architecture Press, £45, $60

Sandra Rendgen’s The Minard System re-contextualises in book form for the first time the entire body of visual diagrams by Charles-Joseph Minard. Minard was an engineer whose life was devoted to the design, supervision and inspection of infrastructure projects throughout France. Born in 1781, he grew up during the first French Revolution and served the French states that changed (from republic to empire to monarchy to republic to empire) over his long life.

Minard is best known as the author of the diagram of Napoleon’s troop losses during the 1812-13 Russian Campaign, but this and other work were never published in book form …

Cover shows detail from Minard’s celebrated 1869 diptych that shows ‘the progressive losses in men’ in armies led by Napoleon (1812-13) and Hannibal (218 BC).
Top: Spread from The Minard System shows detail and full print (1862) from Minard’s consistently scaled and coloured series of diagrams about the transport of mineral fuels.

19. EYE_9815764

Paul Kahn, information designer, Boston, US

Read the full version in Eye no. 98 vol. 25, 2019


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 98 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.

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