Arc de Triomphe
- The architect, Jean-Francois Chagrin, took his inspiration from the Roman Arch of Titus, with a single arch, but transcended the original by the outsize dimensions (about 50m high, 45m long and 22m wide) and by doing away with columns.
Napoleon l already wished to have an arch built in 1806, and it was inaugurated in 1836 by the French king, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the Armies of the Revolution and of the Empire. The Unknown Soldier was buried beneath the Arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is rekindled every day at 6.30pm. On the French national holiday on 14 July, the military parade down the Champs-Élysées leaves from the Place de l’Étoile.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe was one of the rare buildings of the July Monarchy to have accommodated so much Romantic sculpture. The Battle of Jemmapes, the Battle of Austerlitz, Crossing the Arcole Bridge, and The Conquest of Alexandria give evidence of a Romantic spirit which had played a role within the artistic avant-garde since1820. Characters in perpetual disequilibrium and turbulent scenes constituted veritable snapshots: heroic drama was deemed worthy as the main subject of these sculptures. They perfectly translated the Romantic ideal: action and sacrifice as the means to combat blind forces of destiny. Other works manifested a more ambiguous character, drawing from Classical and romantic tendencies, as witnessed in Etex’s works, The Resistance and Departure of the Volunteers, the later defying classification.
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The construction of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was ordered in 1806 by Napoleon, the French Emperor.
Napoleon wanted to honor the Grande Armee, the name of the French army at that time.
The Grande Armee had conquered most of Europe and was then considered invicible. After his Austerlitz victory in 1805, Napoleon said to his soldiers : "You will return home through archs of triumph".
The construction had been stopped between 1814 (abdication of Napoleon) and 1826.
The Arc de Triomphe costed 9.3 millions French francs, a gigantic amount of money at that time.
The names of 128 battles of the first French Republic and Napoleon's Empire are written on the white walls under the vault together with the names of the generals who took part in them.
The construction of Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836, long after Napoleon's death in 1821.