How Was Political Grandeur And Dignity Articulated Through Early 19th Century Architecture?

1286 WordsOct 27, 20156 Pages
How was political grandeur and dignity articulated through early 19th century civic architecture in Paris? Use specific examples. In the wake of the French revolution and King Louis XVI of France’s execution in 1773, 19th century France was a time of immense political, economic and social uncertainty as new political parties competed for power and attempted to reform Frances governing systems. The civil architecture and forms that were built during this period reflect these upheavals, as commissioned architects turned to new styles, city plans and construction methods in order to serve the political ambitions of the governing party. Architecture provided a means of articulating political grandeur and dignity both clearly and creatively,…show more content…
Due to the instabilities caused by the Napoleonic Wars a new style of architecture did not develop during Napoleons rule, resulting in the continuation of pre-French Revolution classicism. With the intention of articulating imperialistic grandeur and referencing France as the “new Roman Empire” , an emphasis was placed on neoclassical elements and the use of columns and arches becoming more liberal. Jean Chalgrin’s Arch de Triomphe provides an example of politically motivated neoclassical architecture. The triumphant arch was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to serve as an honorary monument and rallying point for the French military . Inspired in part by the Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum, decorative high-relief sculptures celebrating military victories from the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars adorn the structure . It is evident that Napoleon believed that as an empire that had annexed and made most of Europe into its satellites, the First French Empire deserved to have its grandeur reflected by a monument that referenced one of the world’s largest and most successful ancient Empires. Through large and imposing monumental structures, Napoleon sought to reminded French society of the military and political successes that had been achieved under his rule and consequently idealise his leadership, The First
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