Charles Marville: photographs of a restored monumental heritage

Charles Marville: photographs of a restored monumental heritage

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  • Monduit firm: view of the Sainte-Chapelle after restoration.

    MARVILLE Charles (1813 - 1879)

  • Paris, Arrow of Notre-Dame, in lead and hammered copper, Viollet le Duc.

    MARVILLE Charles (1813 - 1879)

  • View of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye during the restoration of Eugène Millet.

    MARVILLE Charles (1813 - 1879)

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Title: Monduit firm: view of the Sainte-Chapelle after restoration.

Author : MARVILLE Charles (1813 - 1879)

Creation date : 1856

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 49 - Width 35

Technique and other indications: Albumen print.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. G. Ojedasite web

Picture reference: 01-020587 / Pho2001-3-45

Monduit firm: view of the Sainte-Chapelle after restoration.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

To close

Title: Paris, Arrow of Notre-Dame, in lead and hammered copper, Viollet le Duc.

Author : MARVILLE Charles (1813 - 1879)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 47.8 - Width 34.8

Technique and other indications: Albumen print

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 02-001249 / PHO1996-6-36

Paris, Arrow of Notre-Dame, in lead and hammered copper, Viollet le Duc.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

To close

Title: View of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye during the restoration of Eugène Millet.

Author : MARVILLE Charles (1813 - 1879)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 16.6 - Width 12.8

Technique and other indications: Albumen print.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 01-011698 / Pho2000-11-66

View of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye during the restoration of Eugène Millet.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Publication date: December 2014

Historical context

Building restoration: a booming science

The monumental destruction that occurred during the revolutionary period, the consolidation of national identities and the interest shown in History by the Romantics led in the 1830s to the invention of the concept of monumental heritage, whose historical value was celebrated. and archaeological. In fact, this enhancement of heritage is reflected in the creation of a post of Inspector General of Historical Monuments on October 21, 1830, to be successively occupied by Ludovic Vitet and then Prosper Mérimée, and of a Commission of Historical Monuments in 1837.
The Commission is responsible for making an inventory of monuments, classifying them and allocating funds for restoration. It was not until the 1840s, with the work undertaken in Vézelay under the leadership of Viollet-le-Duc, that the restoration began to adopt genuinely scientific principles.

Image Analysis

Charles Marville and the restoration sites

Many restoration projects opened at this time, as evidenced by the photographic work of Charles Marville (1816-c. 1879), whose name remained closely linked to the developments and transformations of Paris during the second half of the XIXe century. This "photographer of the City of Paris" has also distinguished himself by his collaboration with a few architect-restorers, such as Lassus, Viollet-le-Duc, Abadie or Millet. In particular, he left several views of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, restored from 1836 by Félix Duban and Jean-Baptiste Lassus who took over all the masonry, raised a new spire and redone the decoration of the chapels, stained glass windows and paintings. Exemplary by its scientific rigor and by careful respect for the different layers of history, this project marks the starting point of a new practice of monumental restoration.

This trend was confirmed in 1842, with the launch of the restoration project for Notre-Dame de Paris, which was hard hit like the Sainte-Chapelle by the revolutionary turmoil. The restoration is entrusted to Lassus, the architect of the Sainte-Chapelle, and to Viollet-le-Duc, who has just started to rescue the Madeleine de Vézelay. Very careful, the initial project, which was based on careful archaeological observation, soon gave way to more ambitious views, following the death of Lassus in 1857: remaining sole master of the site, Viollet-le-Duc moved away from the principles of its elder to act of creation. Seeking to restore the building to its initial appearance and all its former attributes, he undertook the repair of the western facade and the sculptures, then the re-establishment on the crossing of the transept of the spire destroyed in 1792, on the buttresses of which he added the tall repulsed copper statues of the apostles and the symbols of the evangelists. Their dominant position has helped to shape the current appearance of the building, as this bird's eye view of Marville shows. It is also to Viollet-le-Duc that we owe the removal of parts deemed unnecessary, such as the choir of Louis XIV, and the return to the “primitive” elevation of the 12th century, in the name of a requirement of style, a requirement which has sometimes resulted in erasing the peculiarities of the monument. Appointed Inspector General of Diocesan Buildings in 1853, despite criticism Viollet-le-Duc succeeded in largely imposing his views on restoration at the top of the state, and many of his disciples put his theories on architectural structure and construction into practice. back to the origins, such as Eugène Millet (1819-1979), to whom Napoleon III entrusted from the 1860s the restoration of the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, with a view to installing the Museum of National Antiquities there. Built in 1539, the castle had been in a sorry state since the end of the 18th century.e century, and Millet opts for a radical party: the return to the primitive state as it presented itself under Francis I. It removes all the additions of the XVIIe century and restores the missing parts based on the surveys by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau. Numerous photographs of Marville, here an oblique view of the interior courtyard of the castle, testify to the extent of the repairs carried out by the architect who took over the structure of the castle and entirely recreated parts such as the western facade.

Interpretation

Photography at the service of monumental heritage

These photographs by Marville shed precious light on the transformations and upheavals that French monumental heritage underwent in the second half of the 19th century.e century. If the buildings of the Middle Ages, symbols of a national history, constituted the privileged field of action of the restorers of the time, other later monuments did not however escape the restorative fever, as evidenced by it. the example of the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Like Atget with Old Paris, Marville harnessed the resources of the new medium of photography to capture on film the different states of a monument, before, during and after restoration. His photographs are part of a heritage approach, insofar as they make it possible to preserve a trace of the successive states of a monument, some of which, as we have seen, were not always maintained during the restoration. Initiated by the French State in 1851, with the Heliographic Mission, this desire to enhance heritage through photography was fully implemented in the second half of the 20th century.e century by the General Inventory of Monuments and Artistic Riches of France, for which photography is an essential tool for the census and description of French heritage in all its forms.

  • architecture
  • Middle Ages
  • Notre Dame de Paris
  • patrimony
  • photography
  • Merimee (Prosper)
  • Velasquez (Diego)

Bibliography

Bruno FOUCART “Viollet-le-Duc and restoration”, Places of memory, II. The Nation ed. P. Nora, Paris: Gallimard, 1997, p. 1615-1643 (“Quarto collection”). Jean-Michel LENIAUD and Françoise PERROT, La Sainte-Chapelle, Paris: ed. du Patrimoine-Center des monuments nationaux, 2007. Jean-Michel LENIAUD and Françoise PERROT, The archipelagos of the past: heritage and its history, Paris: Fayard, 2002.Charles Marville, photographer of Paris from 1851 to 1879 [exhibition, Historical library de la Ville de Paris, 21 November 1980-31 January 1981], Paris: BHVP, 1980. Marie de THEZY, Charles Marville: Paris disappeared, Paris: Paris Museums, 1995. Anne-Marie THIESSE, La creation des identités nationaux, Paris : Threshold, 2000.

To cite this article

Charlotte DENOËL, "Charles Marville: photographs of a restored monumental heritage"


Video: Heritage and restoration excellence