The Architecture of Percier and Fontaine and the Struggle for Sovereignty in Revolutionary France (Hardback) book cover

The Architecture of Percier and Fontaine and the Struggle for Sovereignty in Revolutionary France

By Iris Moon

© 2017 – Routledge

186 pages

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Hardback: 9781472480163
pub: 2016-11-24
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Description

As the official architects of Napoleon, Charles Percier (1764–1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853) designed interiors that responded to the radical ideologies and collective forms of destruction that took place during the French Revolution. The architects visualized new forms of imperial sovereignty by inverting the symbols of monarchy and revolution, constructing meeting rooms resembling military encampments and gilded thrones that replaced the Bourbon lily with Napoleonic bees. Yet in the wake of political struggle, each foundation stone that the architects laid for the new imperial regime was accompanied by an awareness of the contingent nature of sovereign power. Contributing fresh perspectives on the architecture, decorative arts, and visual culture of revolutionary France, this book explores how Percier and Fontaine’s desire to build structures of permanence and their inadvertent reliance upon temporary architectural forms shaped a new awareness of time, memory, and modern political identity in France.

Reviews

Iris Moon’s exciting reappraisal of Percier and Fontaine shows just how precarious monumental architecture can be: the Revolutionary instabilities underpinning their luxury designs for new Napoleonic elites demanded provisional solutions, fast responses, and adaptable designs. Her revelation of their process-oriented approach to architecture opens fresh perspectives on the visual culture of this time, from decorative arts to paper fantasies and mobile motifs.

Susan Siegfried, Denise Riley Collegiate Professor of the History of Art and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Finding Revolutionary Architecture in the Decorative Arts

  1. Visionary Friendship at the End of the Ancien Régime
  2. Clean Sheets and Water Magic

    Architects in Training

    Roman Fever

    Solo Missions

    An Etruscan Friendship

  3. Propulsion and Residue: Constructing the Revolutionary Interior
  4. Rome à Rebours

    Staging Antiquity and Austerity

    Revolutionary Rearrangements

    Seek, Record, Destroy

    The Eternal Return of Luxury

  5. The Recueil de décorations intérieures: Furnishing a New Order
  6. Paper Studios

    Furnishing Techniques

    Strategies of Redaction

    Consuming Desires

    Writing Against Fashion

    Between the Lines

    Empire Styles

  7. The Platinum Cabinet: Luxury in Times of Uncertainty
  8. Pastoral Pastimes

    Incorruptible Precision

    Fast Times in Consulate Paris

    Haunting Season

  9. Tent and Throne: Architecture in a State of Emergency

    Après Coup

    Fantasies of the Ideal Villa

    A Permanent Work in Progress

    Little Pleasures

    The Moving Bivouac

    Political Theology

    Divorcing the Past

Coda: Revolutionary Atonement

About the Author

Iris Moon is a visiting assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute, New York. She specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art, architecture, and the decorative arts.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARC005000
ARCHITECTURE / History / General
ARC005060
ARCHITECTURE / History / Romanticism
ART015030
ART / European
ART037000
ART / Art & Politics
HIS013000
HISTORY / Europe / France
HIS031000
HISTORY / Revolutionary
HIS037060
HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century
POL047000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Imperialism