Paris in Old and Present Times: With Especial Reference to Changes in Its Architecture and Topography, Volume 1

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Roberts brothers, 1885 - Architecture - 238 pages
 

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Page 83 - Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers, joined By no quite lawful marriage of the arts, Might shock a connoisseur ; but, when combined, Form'da whole which, irregular in parts, Yet left a grand impression on the mind...
Page 153 - The composition of the front makes us feel strongly the special merits of the Pantheon. Instead of the majestic columns of Soufflot's work, his rich pediment, and the massive plain walls on each side as margin, we have in the Invalides a poor little pediment reduced to still more complete insignificance by the obtrusive windows, etc., on each side of it. Again, the front of the Invalides offers an example of that vice in Renaissance architecture which Soufflot avoided, — the superposition of different...
Page 156 - The church of the Magdalen (Madeleine) is curiously connected with the history of Napoleon I., who had the incompleted edifice continued with the strange intention of dedicating it as a temple to the memory of La Grande Armee. Every year, on the anniversaries of the battles of Austerlitz and Jena, the temple was to have been illuminated and a discourse delivered concerning the military virtues, with an eulogy of those who perished in the two battles. This intention was never carried out, and the...
Page 206 - Let me tell you a short anecdote about the building, which may help us in some measure to arrive at a just opinion. Shortly after its completion several distinguished men, who were not architects, met at a Parisian dinner-table, and they criticised M. Gamier with great severity. Among them was a provincial architect, who remained silent till the others appealed to him. Then he said : " Gentlemen, when an architect undertakes to erect a comparatively small building, it is still a very complex affair...
Page 206 - Opera so as to give its site the utmost possible importance. As the houses in these streets are all of them lofty and many of them magnificent, the Opera itself required both size and richness to hold its own in a situation that would have been dangerous to a feeble or even a modest architectural performance. The Opera was compelled to assert itself strongly, and if it had merits they must be of a showy and visible kind, — rather those of the sunflower than those of the lily of the valley.
Page 197 - ... which the element of art enters or should enter — that is to say, nearly everything that meets the eye. However, on the other hand, Parisian uniformity may depress exuberance, it is the condition and often the cause of the omnipresent good taste. Not only is it true that, as Mr. Hamerton remarks, " in the better quarters of the city a building hardly ever rises from the ground unless it has been designed by some architect who knows what art is, and endeavors to apply it to little things as...
Page 151 - ... their laurels or hobbling about in the sunshine, eager to show the many relics and curiosities of the place. Those old soldiers who have no appetite to eat their allowance of food may claim money instead, and to those who have wooden legs their allowance of shoe money is honestly refunded. The dome of the Invalides, by Mansard, is lustrous with abundant gilding and on a bright day shines over Paris with the most brilliant effect. Reflected against one of those cerulean skies frequent in Paris...
Page 144 - If there is emotion here it is of a different kind. The building has a stately and severe dignity ; it is at once grave and elegant, but it is neither amusing as Gothic architecture often is by its variety, nor astonishing as Gothic buildings are by the boldness with which they seem to contravene the ordinary conditions of matter. The edifice consists of a very plain building in the form of a cross, with a pediment on pillars at one end and a dome rising in the middle. There are no visible windows...
Page 144 - ... and the projection of the transepts on each side of the portico, when the edifice is seen in front, acts as margin to an engraving. Had their plain surfaces been enriched and varied with windows, the front view would have lost half its meaning; the richness of the Corinthian capitals and sculptured tympanum, and the importance of the simple inscription, draw the eye to themselves at once.
Page 160 - The interest of St. Eustache consists in this, that the designer, whoever he may have been, attempted to combine the general impressiveness of a Gothic edifice with the spirit of the Renaissance in every detail. He must have admired Gothic architecture in a certain fashion, and he must have appreciated its influence on the mind, yet at the same time he did not admire it enough to follow it slavishly in anything.

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