Sunday, April 22, 2007

Eglise de la Madeleine

The Eglise de la Madeleine in Paris, France was designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon in 1806. The construction of the church was begun two different times but halted several years after the attempts were started. The first design by Pierre Constant d'Ivry was begun in 1763 but halted in 1764. The second design by Guillaume-Martin Couture was begun in 1777 but ended in 1797 at the start of the Revolution. It was in 1806 when Napoleon made the ultimate decision to build a temple honoring his great army. Napoleon commissioned Pierre-Alexandre Barthelemy Vignon to build the church based on an antique temple design. After the fall of Napoleon, King Louis XVIII decided that the building would be a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. After the death of Vignon, Jacques-Marie Huve was assigned to complete the church. A design competition for the pediment of the church depicting the Last Judgment was won by Charles Lemaire. The church is Neo-classical and follows the same design as the Maison Carree at Nimes. There are 52 Corinthian columns that go around the whole building. The inside of the church is inspired by Roman baths and has a single nave with three domes. Much of the interior of the church reflects the temple front. Along both aisles in the church are temple designs each containing a religious figure. Of all the churches in Paris, La Madeleine was definitely my favorite and I highly recommend a visit to see it if you are ever in Paris!
Amy Altman

No comments: