“Viollet-le-Duc, a visionary architect” at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine de Paris

On the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, a retrospective exhibition presents the unique work of this great architect, theorist and restorer who was also the founder of the National Museum of French Monuments, where the exhibition is showing.

 

Portrait présumé de Charles Nègre sur la tour sud de Notre-Dame de Paris Henri Le Secq (Jean Louis Henri Le Secq Des Tournelles, dit) (1818-1882), [1853?] / Contretype moderne d’après un négatif sur plaque de verre. Paris, Bibliothèque des arts décoratifs. © Ministère de la Culture - Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais /Henri Le Secq

Vue de Notre-Dame de Paris avec la flèche et l’ange du Jugement dernier. Charles Marville (1813-1879) © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski photographe

 

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) is one of the few architects of the nineteenth century whose death did not drive him to oblivion, but quite on the contrary.

Despite the controversies, his restoration works have always been a reference for architecture professionals, and his genius has marked the history of art and architecture of the Middle Ages. For a long time, historians have attempted to put his archeological science and his ideas on restoration into perspective. Then, from the 1970’s on, his ideas on architectural design were subject of study and controversy.

 

Vue de Notre-Dame de Paris avec la flèche et l’ange du Jugement dernier Charles-François Bossu, dit Charles Marville (1813-1879) ; vers 1860 Photographie ; épreuve sur papier sec à partir d’un négatif verre au collodion sec. Paris, Musée d’Orsay, PHO 1985 200 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski photographe

Portrait présumé de Charles Nègre sur la tour sud de Notre-Dame de Paris. Henri Le Secq © Ministère de la Culture – Médiathèque du Patrimoine / Henri Le Secq

 

Now, thirty years after the last monographic exhibition was dedicated to him in Paris, it is the least known aspects and the most unexpected production of this talented artist which will be presented to the public, as a testimony of the richness and complexity of his personality.  We already know the rational nature of his approach to architectural practice: now is the turn to emphasize his work as a visionary of architecture. To illustrate, in other terms, the intimacy between the positivist system that Viollet-le-Duc represents, and his romantic delusions, the sources of his genius.  A personality which is  strange and complex, hyperactive and productive, relating his encyclopedic knowledge to the service of both a political and aesthetic plan.

The exhibition will be showing in the main venue of the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine de Paris -at Place Trocadéro, 1- until March 9th, 2015.

 

Watch the online promotional video for the exhibition below.

 

Information translated from the original via Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine.
All images taken from the exhibition’s dossier, available here.