Arc de Triomphe
Public Art : Arc de Triomphe or officially known
as the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile.
Architects : The triumphal arch was
designed by Jean Chalgrin (1739–1811) in 1806. When Chalgrin died in 1811, work was continued by Jean-Nicolas
Huyot. Construction was again halted during the Bourbon Restoration 1814-1830. Goust, Huyot and Héricart de Thury
were assigned the task of completing it during the reign of King Louis-Philippe.
Sculptors : The triumphal arch features the talents
of ; Jean-Pierre Cortot (20th August, 1787 – 12th August, 1843) who sculpted the relief of Triumph
(1810); François Rude (4th January, 1784 - 3rd November, 1855) the Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 also
known as La Marseillaise; Antoine Étex (20th March, 1808 - 14th July, 1888)"Peace" and "War", flanking the
arch on the east facade , James Pradier (1790 - 4th June, 1852) the figures of Fame in the spandrels (space between
the arches) ; and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire (1798 - 1880).
Date Unveiled : The arch was eventually
inaugurated in 1836 by the French king, Louis-Philippe.
Location: The Arc de Triomphe stands in the centre of
the Place Charles de Gaulle, (also known as the Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées,
History of the Arc de Triomphe : The Arc de Triomphe
is one of the most famous monuments in Paris and has become the emblem of French patriotism.
The arch was the brain child of Napolean I who wanted a grand momument built in dedication to the
triumphs of his imperial armies following his victory at Auterlitz.
Architect Jean Chalgrin was commissioned in 1806 to design the triumphal arch but he died in 1811. The work was
then taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot. Work was halted for several years, during the Bourbon Restoration,
which saw Napolean ousted as Emperor. The Arc would finally be completed during the reign of of King
Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836.
At the base of each pillar are huge relief sculptures ; The Triumph of 1810 by Jean-Pierre Cortot ;
Resistance by Antoine Étex; Peace by Antoine Étex; and Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 (most commonly known as
La Marseillaise) by François Rude.
Above the friezes in the attic are 30 shields engraved with the names of major Revolutionary and
Napoleonic military victories.The inside walls are also engraved the 660 names mostly belonging to French generals
of the First French Empire. Interestingly the names underlined were those who died in battle. On the supporting
columns are the names of the major victorious battles of the Napoleonic Wars.
From 1882 to 1886 a monumental sculpture of Alexandre Falguière, "Le triomphe de la Révolution"
(the Triumph of the Revolution) sat atop the Arc. Unfortunately she and her, chariot drawn by horses preparing "to
crush Anarchy and Despotism", collapsed and fell into ruins.
Blackened by coal soot and car exhaust, the monument earned itself an extreme makeover. From
1965–1966 the monument was scrubbed clean thanks to bleach! Arc de Triomphe before and after it was cleaned.
Rumor has it that the sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day
that the Battle of Verdun began in 1916. The relief was immediately covered as it could have been seen as
a bad omen.
It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence (after Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang).
The design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus.
During the Paris victory parade in 1919 Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it.
Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War.It was interred in the
chapel on Armistice Day 1920 and buried on 28 January 1921.
When President JF Kennedy was assasinated in 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy remembered the eternal flame
at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her husband's grave at Arlington
National Cemetery in Virginia too.