Pigalle refers for most of us to an area just south of Montmartre, on the border between the 18th and 9th arrondissements in Paris, and we think rather of something like this.

We should however remember that this area (more or less corresponding to the yellow dotted lines) somehow informally got its name from Place Pigalle and the street rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, in 1803 already named after the sculptor who lived in this street and who is one of the few buried at the little Calvaire cemetery on top of Montmartre.  

Jean Baptiste Pigalle (1714-85) was a successful sculptor. One chance to see his works without visiting museums is at the Saint-Sulpice church, where you can admire the statue of Saint Mary in the Lady Chapel – top picture.

On either side of the entrance in the same church there are two halves of an enormous shell (given to King Francis I by the Venetian Republic), resting on rock-like bases sculpted by Pigalle.  Here we can also see his portrait (by Marie-Suzanne Roslin, married to the Swedish painter Alexandre Roslin) and some samples of Pigalle’s other works, including statues and busts of Madame de Pompadour, (a naked) Voltaire (ordered officially during his lifetime), Diderot, a self-portrait…

Once at the Saint-Sulpice church, maybe we should also remember the Visconti-fountain in front of it, the pulpit, the brass line on the floor (often mistaken as part of the Da Vinci Code “Rose Line”), the Cavaillé-Coll / Clicquot organ – considered as one of the best in the world with a concert offered every Sunday…

… and - however invisible for the moment being under a much needed restoration – the mural paintings by Delacroix.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Led by my French nephew, I saw this church for the first time in 2004. He wanted me to see the Delacroix paintings.

Near the entrance, on the left side, there was a panel, covered in acrylic with photos of the Holy Shroud.
My first impression when going inside was not that I thought it beautiful. Of course it is, but there's something else that shook me on first sight. Its vastness, that impossibly high roof and its enormous weight on French history.
Always obsessed with "climatisation" I told Sebastien how impossible would be to make it warmer in winter?

I enjoyed your tour and those sublime photos.
Thank you so much, Monsieur Peter.