INTERIOR VIEW OF SAINT-PHILLIPE-DE-ROULE, PARIS, Jean-Francois-Therese Chalgrin (attributed to)

INTERIOR VIEW OF SAINT-PHILLIPE-DE-ROULE, PARIS, Jean-Francois-Therese Chalgrin (attributed to)

c. 1739 to c. 1811 France

Offered by Charles Plante Fine Arts

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Many French neo-classical architects were concerned with the evolution of ideal basilican-plan churches with solemn interiors of columns supporting uninterrupted entablatures from which rise barrel vaults. The best known example was St-Philippe-du-Roule in the Faubourg St-Honore, Paris (1768-1784) by the architect J-F-T Chalgrin (1739-1811). The church as engraved and published by Traval after Chalgrin is almost exactly as in this drawing. The major difference is the oculus-like termination of the vault over the altar. If it had been intended to be glazed it would have taxed the technology of the day, but as the vault was actually built of wood not stone, this may show the architect experimenting with his light sources, a typical neo-classical response. As the church was so well known this may well be drawn during its construction in Chalgrin's office. It is a fine example of precise Louis-Seize architectural draughtsmanship for a public building, however, the out of scale figures are dwarfed by the architecture and are most probably by another hand.

The clear relationship of this design with surviving Roman ruins closely observed by Grand Tour and Roman trained architects of the time is scarcely better exemplified than in this design, which immediately recalls the Baths of Caracalla and the then more complete remains in the Forum. The apsed basilican form used here is seen in a scarcely less impressive setting in the Marble Hall of 1783, at Kedleston, Derbyshire, and at the famous hall at Holkham in Norfolk, by Kent of 1759, as inspired by the antique 'Egyptian halls'.
Allan Braham, The Architecture of the French Enlightenment, London, 1980
Robin Middleton and David Watkin, Neo-classical and 19 th Century Architecture, New York, 1977
New York, Master Drawings (exhibition catalogue) Didier Aaron, Inc, 1996 p22
Height 381.00 mm (15.00 inches)
Width 558.00 mm (21.97 inches)
Pen and ink with grey washes
Charles Plante Fine Arts

Charles Plante Fine Arts
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