Book
The Architecture of Percier and Fontaine and the Struggle for Sovereignty in Revolutionary France

As the official architects of Napoleon, Charles Percier (1764–1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853) designed interiors that responded to the radical ideologies and collective forms of destruction that took place during the French Revolution. The architects visualized new forms of imperial sovereignty by inverting the symbols of monarchy and revolution, constructing meeting rooms resembling military encampments and gilded thrones that replaced the Bourbon lily with Napoleonic bees. Yet in the wake of political struggle, each foundation stone that the architects laid for the new imperial regime was accompanied by an awareness of the contingent nature of sovereign power. Contributing fresh perspectives on the architecture, decorative arts, and visual culture of revolutionary France, this book explores how Percier and Fontaine’s desire to build structures of permanence and their inadvertent reliance upon temporary architectural forms shaped a new awareness of time, memory, and modern political identity in France.

Contents:

Introduction: Finding Revolutionary Architecture in the Decorative Arts 

1. Visionary Friendship at the End of the Ancien Régime
Clean Sheets and Water Magic
Architects in Training
Roman Fever
Solo Missions
An Etruscan Friendship

2. Propulsion and Residue: Constructing the Revolutionary Interior
Rome à Rebours
Staging Antiquity and Austerity
Revolutionary Rearrangements
Seek, Record, Destroy
The Eternal Return of Luxury

3. The Recueil de décorations intérieures: Furnishing a New Order
Paper Studios
Furnishing Techniques
Strategies of Redaction
Consuming Desires
Writing Against Fashion
Between the Lines
Empire Styles 

4. The Platinum Cabinet: Luxury in Times of Uncertainty
Pastoral Pastimes
Incorruptible Precision
Fast Times in Consulate Paris
Haunting Season

5. Tent and Throne: Architecture in a State of Emergency
Après Coup
Fantasies of the Ideal Villa
A Permanent Work in Progress
Little Pleasures
The Moving Bivouac
Political Theology
Divorcing the Past

Coda: Revolutionary Atonement

Title
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMoon I
PublisherRoutledge
CityLondon; New York
Abstract

As the official architects of Napoleon, Charles Percier (1764–1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853) designed interiors that responded to the radical ideologies and collective forms of destruction that took place during the French Revolution. The architects visualized new forms of imperial sovereignty by inverting the symbols of monarchy and revolution, constructing meeting rooms resembling military encampments and gilded thrones that replaced the Bourbon lily with Napoleonic bees. Yet in the wake of political struggle, each foundation stone that the architects laid for the new imperial regime was accompanied by an awareness of the contingent nature of sovereign power. Contributing fresh perspectives on the architecture, decorative arts, and visual culture of revolutionary France, this book explores how Percier and Fontaine’s desire to build structures of permanence and their inadvertent reliance upon temporary architectural forms shaped a new awareness of time, memory, and modern political identity in France.

Contents:

Introduction: Finding Revolutionary Architecture in the Decorative Arts 

1. Visionary Friendship at the End of the Ancien Régime
Clean Sheets and Water Magic
Architects in Training
Roman Fever
Solo Missions
An Etruscan Friendship

2. Propulsion and Residue: Constructing the Revolutionary Interior
Rome à Rebours
Staging Antiquity and Austerity
Revolutionary Rearrangements
Seek, Record, Destroy
The Eternal Return of Luxury

3. The Recueil de décorations intérieures: Furnishing a New Order
Paper Studios
Furnishing Techniques
Strategies of Redaction
Consuming Desires
Writing Against Fashion
Between the Lines
Empire Styles 

4. The Platinum Cabinet: Luxury in Times of Uncertainty
Pastoral Pastimes
Incorruptible Precision
Fast Times in Consulate Paris
Haunting Season

5. Tent and Throne: Architecture in a State of Emergency
Après Coup
Fantasies of the Ideal Villa
A Permanent Work in Progress
Little Pleasures
The Moving Bivouac
Political Theology
Divorcing the Past

Coda: Revolutionary Atonement