2 to 5pm
Simone Zurawski: Architecture and Urban Development in the Reign of Louis XIV Reconsidered: Paris in the Aftermath of the Fronde
The Porte Saint-Denis raised by François Blondel (1672) embodies French Baroque Classicism in the reign of Louis XIV and assumes its place as the first permanent triumphal arch in Paris. Of foremost significance, moreover, are the fused historical and political reasons for choosing its site, which was cleared to make way for open urban space. Long occupied by the premier gateway carved into the Medieval walls, Blondel’s free-standing replacement freshly celebrated its connection between Paris and the royal abbey in Saint Denis. And this venerable compound sprang back to life, and gripped the King’s attention, because it had sheltered him, when a terrified boy, and his equally traumatized mother, Anne d’Autriche, during the Fronde. A wealth of personal imagery was thereafter expressed through Blondel’s classical monument alongside the more familiar iconography of “imperial” glory; and, just as importantly, this combination would have been extended in tribute to the brave and loyal locals who had helped the Maréchal Turenne clinch his victory for the Crown. This riveting, and previously overlooked, narrative emerges through untapped sources found in the Newberry Library, notably and above all, Michel Félibien’s Histoire de l’abbaye royal de Saint-Denis (1706).
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