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Lecture

FAH101H1 Lecture Notes - Roman Art, Lentil, French Revolution


Department
Art
Course Code
FAH101H1
Professor
S.Vattay

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LECTURE #2
Purification and Simplification
-What is happening in England is also happening in France
-Synchronic way of looking at architecture, look at what happened to the society as a who, esp theorist.
Essai sur l’architecture, Paris, Marc-Antoine Laugier, 1753
-An essay that expanded the rationalist view of archi and how it relates to the period of enlightenment.
-Wasn’t simply looking at classical (moral/virtue/primitive/prior to the corruption of the society through the Baroque period), but also nature. Believe in the truth of
nature.
-Tied up to enlightenment, looking at things in a scientific way (by engaging in man and nature and what nature tells us), instead of divine and superstition.
-Suggested that the universal path that archi should follow is one that comes from nature/primitive time from the beginning of time (in this case classical time), in this
case the classical period
-Primitive hut: a hypothetical hut created by Laugier to express the idea about rationality and purity of design. Illustrated a building designed using elements in
nature. Expressing the purest form of architecture b/c it could be found in nature. Advocating the clarity of design
-Archi features (e.g., column) are true to their image (i.e., they do support the lentil and pediment).
-During Baroque, have buildings incorporate classical details, but e.g., columns are not being used in a rational way, only applied to the building, only for decoration.
i.e., architect applied decorative columns true to the form of classicism, but not functional. Functionality should be expressed in the building
French Revolution
-The 28th of July: Liverty Leading the People, Eugene Delacrolx, 1830
-Many changes, huge impact on society (including architecture). Napoleon declared himself as emperor.
-E.g., Oath of the Horati, although the story refers to a classical story in Roman period, the painting was done in modern period (1780s) b/c it had a heroic subject
matter, has a clarity in its design and form, that allowed for the painting to teach ppl who saw it about the heroic quality. Also lent an air of authority and stability to
the period and what is going on.
-Government at that time (e.g., Napoleon) grasped on neo-classicism b/c they felt the style portrays something in their society.
-Architecture speaks to the public and educate them.
Madame du Pompadour, Francois Boucher
-Powerful mistress of the King, had control over artistic paintings
-Boucher: Rococo painter, a style ppl are moving away from at that time
-Sent her brother, Marquis de Marigny, on a Grand Tour (Pompeii, Herculaneum), understood the Roman art circle. Marigny came back and became an important
government official (appointed director of royal buildings). Started to sway architects of the time who design for the government to take on a neoclassical path
The Pantheon (Chhurch of Ste-Genevieve), Paris, Jacques-Germain Soufflot, 1755-1792
-Long period of construction, building function changes during the course of construction
-Aka Pantheon: means “Temple to all Gods”. The Roman Pantheon (1st cent. AD) was built as a temple to the Gods, while Paris Pantheon was originally built as a
Christian Church. But during the construction it was determined by the government (due to the French Revolution, upheavals, etc) to change the programme from a
church to a place to honour the most important citizens in France, entomb famous ppl.
-The first most significant neo-classical building in France. Soufflot is very much influenced by Laugier; Laugier praised the design for being the closest to what he
described as a primitive hut in his essay. A physical manifestation of the hut where by the classical details are being used in an ordered and correct way as opposed to
just apply to a building as decoration.
-Deep portico, 6 giant Corinthian column with a pediment. Greek Cross floor plan (Latin Cross is asymmetrical). The rationality and order about the exterior is
clearly shown on the plan, based on the placement of the five domes, one in each arm of the Greek Cross and a larger one in the centre.
-Interior: reflection of classicism is pick out in many details. Classical features are being fully expressed as functioning column and lentil (post and lentil architecture of
Greek world), very simple and rational.
-Almost excessive need for clarity in the building and really shows a reaction against Baroque churches (curved walls with decorations moving in and out, very
overwhelming in term of ornamentation)
Claude-Nicolas Ledoux
-Built number of private homes in France, esp Paris, e.g., House of Mlle,, Gulmard, 1770
-Designed over 50 costume houses throughout Paris, no two are alike. All express classical style archi
-Served as gateway, somewhere you have to pass through in order to get into the city. The very idea comes from the acropolis in Athens, propylaea, a gateway onto the
acropolis.
-Imitated the form, use it in creative ways. Modified classical image into a functional building back then
-E.g., created useful spaced in the custom houses while the propylaea is simply a gateway
- Pavilion de Madame du Barry, Chateau de Louveciennes, 1771
-Plan: rational order, diff shaped rooms working together to create an interesting interior form
-Madame du Barry hired Jean-Honore Fragonard (one of the most popular painters just prior to neo-classicism, Rococo artist) to paint panels to decorate
the house. Madame du Barry refused the paintings b/c she felt the paintings are no longer appropriate in 1771. Hired another artist to paint a new series,
Joseph-Marie Vien (neo-classical painter), more classical and fashionable at that time.
-Barriee de la Villette, Paris, 1784-1787
-Round temple on top with double column and arcade, sth borrowed from Roman archi. Very functional, can looking into all directions, a modern
interpretation to serve modern purposes
-Portico: very distinctive, heavy, thick, squat column, not as elegant as the ones by Soufflot in the Paris Pantheon. The type of motif comes from popular
source at that time, in particular the excavation of Greek temples in Paestum (Italy, where ppl also go on grand tour). Not a less refined form of column,
simply using a different source from the past
-Prison, Alx-en-Provence, designed 1784
-Never completed. An example of architecture parlante (speaking architecture)
-Architecture speaks to you simply through its form and appearance. Idea is when looking at the prison, get a feeling of heaviness/weight of solidity (once
you go in, never get out); tiny slit windows (no connection with the outside world); very few openings on the ground floor (to prevent accessibility)
-The building that lent itself to create an image in the viewers’ mind.
-The idea that art and architecture can impact someone in the way that it stirs emotions was found throughout the society, same time as Romanticism
started to appear.
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