8.12.11

Arch of Triumph - something more
























It’s very usual to take photos of the Arch of Triumph, but mostly it’s the same side which is illustrated. The Arch has however two sides – if not four, which can be seen differently day or night.
I have already several times posted (see here and here) on the Arch of Triumph, but I thought that a closer look on its different decorations may be of some interest.   
It took quite some time for the Arch to be completed. Napoleon ordered it in 1806 and the works commenced, but his defeats in 1812 and later interrupted the works, which were resumed only in 1832. The inauguration took place in 1836. It has since been a central point for different commemorations and is still the place of departure for the 14th July parade, for the celebration of the WW victories – or for the peace they led to.
So… the sculptures:
The most famous one (front side right) is probably “The departure of 1792” (departing for fighting against Austria and Prussia), often referred to as “La Marseillaise”.  It was made by François Rude (on whom I have already posted).
(A tomb at the Montmartre Cemetery by Rude.)









The next one (front side left) is called “The Triumph of 1810”, by Jean-Pierre Cortot, where we can more or less recognize Napoleon. 1810 was certainly a triumphal year for Napoleon. It was when he got married to Marie-Louise of Austria, when the Penal Code was introduced and the French Empire was at its (short) maximum. Cortot has left other works still visible, including on the Place de la Concorde (see previous posts, here and here), Place des Vosges (see previous post)


































(The statue on Place des Vosges. It replaced a previous one destroyed during the Revolution.)









The third and fourth ones, on the "back side", are both by the same artist, Antoine Etex...

... “Peace” (on the left side )...



... and “The Resistance” (on the right side). Etex’s works can be found on a number of tombs, but he’s also the one who made the Napoleon statue at the Invalides (see previous post).



(Napleon at the Invalides.)














We must not forget all the other decorations of the Arch...

... the bas-reliefs, illustrating different battles (and funerals),



... the cornices on the top,



... the names of all the battles (only the ones won I suppose),



... the names of all marshals, generals ...,



... and on the ground, some plates,
... and of course the tomb of the Unknown Soldier with its eternal flame.

Really nothing to do with the above, but you may know that at least three pilots have managed to fly through the arch, the first one in 1919 (the below video), the latest one in 1991.




39 comments:

Studio at the Farm said...

Fascinating post, Peter. Thank you!

Bagman and Butler said...

A masterpiece, as usual, Peter. And you are quite right. Like almost all other tourists, I just looked at it several years ago, shot the typical shot of it and decided not to fight the traffic to get closer. You have brought it alive for us. You certainly have a calling and Paris is the beneficiary.

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

I thought I knew the old Arc de Triomphe pretty well, and you still taught me a few things, Peter. Well done. I was there just last December with my 11 year old. I wish I'd had all that information then. Just wanted you to pass on his comment about the old video clip: "Cool!" - and it is! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Julie said...

How many pilots tried, but did not manage to fly through the Arc? And, successful or otherwise, is it a criminal offence?

Virginia said...

As always, I learn from your blog Peter. I"ve only been under once about two years ago when I photographed the flame. I'm thinking I need a trip up! We'll see how energetic I am this trip. I think the view would be marvelous. I"m sure there will be encouragement all around, ( or maybe peer pressure?)
V

Nikon said...

Great post, Peter. You really added to my knowledge!

ALAIN said...

Il manque la vue de dessus ! La prochaine fois loue un hélicoptère.

Ruby said...

Very informative and beautiful pictures. I always loved the cornices at the top. They usually have some stories sculpted in India. Is there any story here??

SusuPetal said...

Seen it, never realized it. Thank you, Peter, for the information.

Cergie said...

J'ai entendu dire que Napoléon de nos jours serait sans doute jugé pour crime contre l'Humanité...
4 faces, tu ne comptes pas le milieu ?
Ce sont des bas reliefs
Celui que je préfère est celui avec les visiteurs, il est assez spectaculaire, non ?

Cergie said...

A propos de mon image, j'ai pensé à MUNCH ! Avec le personnage qui nous fait face en bas et la scène qui n'est cependant pas une scène de crime ni d'incendie.
Alors j'ai aussi pensé à toi qui as vu l'expo...

Catherine said...

What a wonderful tour...thanks and greetings from the riviera....

hpy said...

Exhaustif?

sonia a. mascaro said...

What a fantastic post, Peter!
Wonderful details!
Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures and the video too.

Cezar and Léia said...

I miss Paris so much! I think it's time to come back!
Thanks for these adorable pictures, so wonderful review in this important architecture!Impressive and beautiful monument!
wow Peter, I imagine you had lots of work to make all these beautiful collages! Very well done!
Léia

Starman said...

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who think they have to fight the traffic to get to l'Arc de Triomphe.

Maria O. Russell said...

What a masterpiece of a post!

Simply amazing...

Merci Monsieur.

Thirtytwo degrees said...

I am so happy that I watched the video as I had struggled to do it, always disliking that kind of trick. But it was fun and very well done. Thanks for posting.

Ruth said...

Every visit to Paris I spend many many hours in Place des Vosges, but only once, on the sixth or seventh visit, did I get close to the Arch. It is special, and thank you for showing these carvings and explaining about them (sharing the "overtones" of Paris, always). There are quite nice views from atop the Arch too!

Bettina said...

Thank you for sharing the Arch in close up both day and night, it is very beautiful.

delphinium said...

tous ces gens entassés les uns sur les autres, ça donne parfois mauvais genre. ;-)

Rakesh Vanamali said...

The more I visit here, the more i get to learn of the wonderful place that you call home.

Anje Danielle said...

So beautiful! As an art lover and French culture enthusiast, I have so much adoration for the detail and history. Thanks for having such a lovely blog!

Adam said...

Very complete as usual Peter.

You know, I've never really visited it, and certainly haven't paid to go to the top. There's certainly something distasteful about its militaristic nature, and it's almost bizarre that it gets so many visits from peoples that were crushed under the feet of Napolean's armies!

Catherine said...

Hi Peter - I was up in Paris recently with students for a conference so didn't have a moment to myself - but when I do return I will let you know as it would be delightful to meet up.....Greetings from the Riviera...

La Petite Gallery said...

This was a real treat, I have seen these, but from cab's as a goshe American tourist. Thank you for the fabulous photos and info.

yvonne
Merry Christmas

Trotter said...

Hi Peter! I’m so happy to be here after my accident ;)

Wonderful post on the Arch! Allons enfants...

Blogtrotter Two is around Scandola. Fabulous! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

JM said...

Great post on the Arc de Triomphe! The top composition is my favourite.

Peter (the other) said...

Over the years, the amount of acidic pollution whirling around these wonderful works should have dulled them to a smudge. Besides the human dimension added by your graceful, historic descriptions, the third, spacial dimension retained by constant and careful restoration, and the cultural will to do so, is also impressive.

ParisBreakfasts said...

Mon dieu!
I had no idea so many stories were lurking in the Arc d'triomphe!
I have always taken it too much for granted..even though I have a little miniature of it here by my laptop.
Merci indeed
carolg

La Petite Gallery said...

Merry Christmas Peter, thanks for becoming a follower, you have such
an educational post.

yvonne

amatamari© said...

Really a wonderful post!

Nathalie said...

En passant devant l'arc de triomphe en novembre dernier je me suis fait la réflexion qu'il fallait être gonflé pour passer sous cette arche en avion, que ce n'était vraiment pas large. Merci de ce petit bout de film !

...et bravo pour ce billet fort instructif comme toujours.

Paris Paul said...

Seriously, Peter? How Rude! (I'm so sorry.)

Seriously, thank you for the great lesson and photos.

Jeanne said...

Thanks for posting the wonderful pictures and for the explanations. I only saw this from a distance when I was in France so it's nice to enjoy the details.

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