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Art. VI. Description ie Paris, &c.; /'. e. A Description of Paris and of its Edifices, with an Historical Sketch and Observations on the Character of their Architecture, and on the principal Objects of Art and Curiosity which they contain. By J. G. Legrand, Architect of Public Monuments, and Inspector of the Buildings row constructiiig in the Commune of Paris, Member and Secretary of the Board of Public Works in the Department of the Seine, and of several Scientific and Literary Societies; and by C. P. L/.ndon Painter, formerly Pensioner of the French Academy at Rome, Member of various Societies, Author of the Annals of the Museum &c. &c. Enriched with more than one hundred Copper-plate Engravings, and an exact Plan of Paris and its Embellishments. Vol I Bvo. pp. 211. and 31 Plates. Paris. Imported by De boffe, price 12s. 6d.
"public edifices in great cities constitute their principal orna-*■ ment; and in the style of their architecture we may discover the state of that science, as well as of the arts in general, at the period of their construction. Piris, like almost every other overgrown metropolis, was originally of small extent; and its history, if we may credit French antiquaries, may be triced to the most remote ages. According to certain writers, the Trojans were only a colony from Gaul; some of whom, when Troy was demolished, returned to their original country, and the beautiful Paris bring among them, his name was given to •the capital of the French empire: but this mythological account belongs rather to romanc? than to history ; since, if Paris was named after the Ttojin prince, it is not easy to account for the appellation Lntetia, conferred on it by the Romans. Others tell us that this city derived its present denomination from being built near a celebrated temple of Isis, Par-isis; and others from the two words par and p, which are said to signify m.ni of the vessels; because originally Paris consisted only of the island in the Seine, which is now called la cite, (the city,) and the inhabitants were occupied in commerce by water. Nothing satisfactory, however, seems to be obtained as to the origin of its present name, and little more as to that by which the Romans designated it: but the different epochs of its history under the Merovingian, Carlovingian, and Capetian dynasties are tractd in the volume before us, and the superficial txtent of Paris under various monarchs is given. In the time of Julius Cxsar, 56 B. C, it measured only about 44 arpens, or acres; in the reign of Francis 1. 1414 arpens; under Louis XiV. and XV., 3919; and under Louis XVI. in 1788, it measured 985 S arpens and three perches, and might then contain about 26,000 houses. At that period, the city is represented as advancing in'extent and grandeur: but, observes the author,
* The Revolution then commenced, which produced nothing but ruins; the Bastille was demolished; and at this signal all the monument:! of art were threatened to be involved with it in destruction. The barriers of Pan's were mutilated; many churches were violated and defaced; others sold and pulled down. The statues of our kings were broken in pieces or melted; and images of wood or painted bricks were substituted in their room.'
This painting en tioir of the Revolution serves as a back-ground to the figure which is next presented to our notice. The new idol is thus introduced: ' At length a young hero reigns in France, and Paris recovers all its splendour. Projects of public utility and magnificence truly royal are conceived, and.carried into execution with unexampled dispatch.' An enumeration of the recent improvements of the French capital is subjoined, by which it appears that both in beauty and accommodation this city is rapidly»advancing.
As this volume, or rather this first part of Vol. I., is wholly occupied with the sacred edifices, it presents us, after the historical sketch of the city, with some gener.il observations oa the churches of Paris. Here the author distinguishes four or five separate architectural aeras, marked by an appropriate style of building and decoration:
1 The first may be called the antienl Gothic, examples of which are the churches of Notre-Dame, St. Germain:des-Pres, .>t. Etienne-duMont, St, Gervais, and the Holy Chapel of the palace, though more rich and more elegantly worked *.
'We may consider the church of St. Eustace as the passage from the Gothic to the revival of the arts, if we arc to judge ot it-by many details of Grecian and Roman architecture, and by those very fine and delicate ormanents, entiiely unknown in the antiuu Gothic, of which we have been speaking, and which must not be confounded with the Gothic antique f; models of which arc afforded by most of the churches of Italy, but aie wanting in Paris.
'The modern style is that in which all the conventual and parish churches of the age of Louis XIV. were erected, and which is ofcen known by the appellation of French architecture, because it was in this celebrated aira that many architects, such as Mansard, le Vau, le Mercier, Sec. acquired fame by the numerous edifices of all kindg which they constructed, in a style much resembling that of the Ro
* All these buildings, however, are not in what we call the pure Gothic style, but admit mixtures of Grecian or rather Roman architecture, as may be seen in the front of St. Elienne-du-Mcnt. Rev.
f This is defined to be a composition of fiagmcnts and antique pillars in a picturesque style, forming large masses of a beautiful proportion, of which Venice, Sienna, Pisa, Florence, fee. exhibit many examples. Rev..
I i 3 mans, mans, and differing from that which had previously been fashionable in France.
'The conventual churches of the Assumption, of St Mary, of St. Anthony, of Val-de-Grace, of the Sorbonne, of the Invalids, of the Quarte-Nations. and of several more, may be cited as examples of the modern ttyle; between which and the monuments of Rome we maydistinguish many shades both of resemblance and of dissimilarity; for the architects of this age, being actuated by a sort of national pride, while they closely copied these models, endeavoured to disguise theijr obligations, and were thus impelled to the creation of a French architecture.
* The age of Louis XV. and Louis XVI., in the churches of St. Genevieve, (called under the republican regime the Pantheon,) of the new Magdalen, of St. Rock, in the porticos of the churches of St. Sulpice, of St. Eustache, in the chapel of Beavtjon, and in the parish church of St. Philippe-du-Roulc, affords instances of the endeavours of our architects to restore the taste of the antient Romans; or a style more grand, more striking, more chaste, and less charged with paltry details, an affected taste for which was substituted for the noble and manly severity of antique forms.—No doubt we mu3t wait till the noble edifices are finished, which are intended to illustrate and to display to posterity the age of Napoleon, before we can determine how nearly the architects of this xra have approached those beautiful models of the Greeks, which they are now so earnestly studying, with a solicitude to catch the noble simplicity and grace that distinguish the works of antient artists.'
It is worthy of observation, especically with respect to architecture, that the love of elegant simplicity, in preference to a profusion of unmeaning, grotesque, and paltry ornaments, is an evidence of good taste; and with pleasure we notice the symptoms of its progress both in France and in England. The architect should not forget the him of the poet, 1
"'Tis use alone that sanctifies expence,
And splendour borrows all her rays from sense."
The churches, of which this part of the work presents us with ground plans and elevations, are Notre-Dame, the Metropolitan church ;—the Royal Abbey of St. Germain urs Pres, at present one of the twenty-seven Succursales, or chapels of easet belonging to the twelve parishes of Paristhe parish churc h of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, situated before the Louvre;—the - antient church of St. Genevieve and of St. Etienne-clu-Mont; —the Holy Chapel;—the parish church of St. Grrvais and Sr. Protais ;—the parish church of St. Eustache ;—the church of the Assumption ;—do. of the Jesuits;—do. of the Visitation of St. Mary;—the church and antient abbey of V.il-de-Grace ;— the Sorbonne ,—the church of the Invalids;—the college of Mazarin, or the church des ^uatre-Nathns j—the new church of St. Gene vt<*ve;—the p irish church of St. Roch ; —do. of Sf. Sulpice ;—the church of St. Philippe du Roule;—the chapel or Beaujon, dedicated to St. Nicholas,;—and the portico of the Hotel Dicu, pliccd in the court of Notre-Dame.
Ti' e-ch plate an historical and descriptive memoir or notice is «ffi<e-l, which ran i he useful to those who may h. reafter wish to make the tour of ih- Par'sian chutclu-s. We cannot be required to «rnter into the history of the Saints, nor of the chur-hrs consecrated to rheir memory: but our leaders may expect from us so^ie gratification of their curiosity, for which pun'OSf we shall copv thr histories here given ot the most celebrated of the mtient and modern churches. To the first class thr Mi-tr.ip liun church of Notre-Dame unquestionably belongs, of *hk-h tht s» par'i ul .r$ are detailed: •
* The original foundation of the church of Notre Dame, in la Cite, is attributed 10 Childehcit I. the son of Clovis, about the year
'It is known that, under our first race of kings, a very antient church existed in la Che, dedicated to St Stephen the proto-martyr; that it was near to No:re-Damc; and that it mi^ht have even constituted a part of it. IV.'any charters of the twelfth and thirteenth, centuries make mention of this church, as the first episcopal tee.
'The image of St Stephen, and that of St Deny?, who had taken him 'or his patron, have moreover always bten displayed on the banners of the church of Paris; and we see also some particulars ol the life and martyrdom of St Stephen represented Over (he door *f the south entrance of Notte-Uame. All these fiCts combined induce a belief th t the old church of St. Stephen might have been situated on the side, and mi^ht have been included in the actual ioclosure ot Notre-Dame Be thi* as it may, we arc assuied that the foundations of the church now existing were laid in 1010, in the reign of king Robert, who succeeded Hugh Cipet his father; and that they were partly carried up to the surface of the ground in the life-timr. of the same prince Philip Augustus continued this building under the episcopacy of Maurice dt Suf/y, the seventieth biuhop". of Paris. This prelate undertook, with great zeal and knowlege, the direction of this vast edifice; and in order to complete the plan, he demolished, towards the west, the antient church of Notre-Dame, preserving only the foundations, as also that of St Stephen, just mentioned, that nothing might injure the lout cmemb.e of the new edifice.
« The work was advanced when Pope Alexander III-, then an exile in Fiance, laid the first stone ; and in 1 1 8 I the great altar was conseciated by the apostolic legate, in conjunction with the above Maurice de Suly, who died in the same year.
'Odon de Suliy, a re'ation of t hilip Auguflus. and of Henry king* ef England, succeeded bishop Maurice, and carried on the building till his death in J20d. The tomb of copper ou which his figure wa'4
i i ^ tjmbossedv embossed, or exhibited in relief, was to be seen in the choir previous
ly to the embellishments made by Louis XIV. in 1714.
'Pierre de Nemoun succeeded Odon, who equally contributed to the advancement of the work till his death in 1220, and who left to the bishops who followed him the charge of finishing the edifice.
'It is supposed that the grand front was not completed till the reign of Philip Augustus, because his statue was the last of all those of colossal size which stood in the same line above the three doors, and which were demolished during the revolution. These were twenty-five in number, viz. thirteen of the kings of the first race, commencing with Childebert I.; nine of the second, at the head of which was Pepin the Short, mounted on a lion (this refers to the valour with which, in spite of hjs diminutive stature, he overcame a furious lion); and lastly, sev;n kings of the third race, commencing with Hugh Capet, and finishing with Philip Augustus*.
'The south front, towards the archbishop's palace, was not begun till tbe year 1257, as is proved by the Gothic inscription of a single line engraven on both sides of the door. Jean de Chelle was the architect or foreman; and it is probable that the front and the chapels towards the north were not completed before the fourteenth century.
• Thus it appears that the construction cf thi-? immense edifice cost the almost uninterrupted labour of nearly three hundred years. The general disposition of the plan is grand and noblt; the proportions are satisfying to the eye; and the building may be quoted as one of the most considerable and beautiful in Christendom. Its vicinity to the river might lead us to believe that the foundations are laid oa piles; and it is possible that in some places this precaution was necessary: but by certain excavations, and especially those which were made in 756 for laying the foundation of the Treasury, towards the south, and which were carried to the depth of twenty-four feet, or two feet below those of the church, it has been proved that they rest 6n a solid giavcl, and are formed of unhewn stone cemented by mortar, compo.sed of lime and sand, harder than the stone itself. We find only four courses of squared stones, resting with a set-off one on the other, and which bring up the foundation to the level ground. The outline of the plan is that of the Roman cross; measuring within 65 toises, or 360 feet long, and 24 toises or 144 feet wide; the height to the key of the arched roof, 17 toises z feet, or icu feet. The two towers, which are 34 toises or 204 feet high, are square, each fide measuring forty feet, and are separated by a space of the same diameter; whence it follows that the entire facade of the front or principal entrance is 120 feet.
4 In this chinch are iiO large pillars and Io3 smaller, each formed of a (-ingle block.
'The sculptures in the ogee of the arches over the three western doors relate to the Ni.w Testament, and are much defaced: but we may distinctly perciive the figures of the" twelve apostles; and in the
• If this enumeration be complete, the whole number must have