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The church of Sainte-Geneviève was constructed during the second half of the 18th century, designed by the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot, to house the relics of the patron saint of Paris. The French Revolution transformed this religious building into the Pantheon dedicated to the great heroes of the Nation. Serving alternatively as a religious site and secular temple in the 19th century, the Pantheon houses three major artworks from this period: the great cupola fresco executed by Baron Antoine Jean Gros, the painted décor in the four pendentives supporting the dome by François Gérard, and the great bas-relief sculpture in the pediment by David d’Angers. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the building was definitively consecrated as a national monument, dedicated to the great men and women of the nation. In 1874, Philippe de Chennevières, the government’s Director of Fine Arts, conceived a decorative programme destined to glorify the great history of Catholic and monarchical France. Up until 1889, the finest official artists were commissioned to execute works there: Pierre Puvis de Chavannes to celebrate the life of Saint Geneviève; Alexandre Cabanel, the life of Saint Louis; Jules Eugène Lenepveu, the life of Jeannne d’Arc; Léon Bonnat and Pierre Victor Galland, the life of Saint Denis; Paul Joseph Blanc and Henry Léopold Lévy, the actions of Clovis and Charlemagne. Upon the creation of the Third Republic, secular and civic allegories gained precedence over the lives of the saints. Sculptural commissions reflected this evolution. Works by Laurent Honoré Marqueste, Paul Jean-Baptiste Gasq and Jean-Antoine Injalbert honoured the Revolutionary martyrs and Republican heroes, whilst the monuments to Diderot and Rousseau praised the values of human rights and democracy. Groups by Paul Maximilien Landowski and Louis Henri Bouchard signalled the renewal of modern sculpture at the beginning of the 20th century. The Pantheon is truly the monument symbolic of the ideological upheavals of contemporary France, as well as the artistic policies of the Republic until World War II.
15 x 21 cm
Paperback with flaps
Paperback with flaps
ISBN : 978-2-85822-168-4
Price : 12.00 €