Empire style architecture
Empire style (from fr.empirestyle - imperial style) as a new phase in the development of classicism arose in France at the beginning of the century, when Napoleon came to power. Embody greatness in architectural forms. Both styles, both classicism and empire, were based on architectural forms of antiquity, but the fundamental differences between them are obvious — classicalism free in its birth and development was fully oriented towards the ideals of democratic Athens, and the architects of the Empire style were inspired by architectural decisions of ancient Rome. After all, the majestic, triumphantly raised forms of the buildings of the Ancient Roman state perfectly corresponded to Napoleon’s imperial ambitions.
In addition, the presence of Egyptian elements is characteristic of the French Empire style - they appeared in style decisions after Napoleon's Egyptian campaign.
It was under the influence of the official imperial ideology imposed by the government that dominated at the endXVIIIcentury classicism begins to transform and acquire deliberately monumental, solemn forms.They fully corresponded to the new political and ideological tasks of the time and emphasized the greatness of imperial power.
And although in the style of the building at that time, the exterior luxury and greatness were built, while the construction under Napoleon was not intense - the war took away too much material and human resources. Mostly triumphal monuments were built, old buildings were restored and palace interiors were finished.
The father of Empire can safely be called the artist Jacques Louis David, who at the beginning of the century painted paintings praising the emperor and his family. For his works, the painter specially ordered special furniture, emphasizing the character of the paintings. This furniture came to the liking of the emperor and became the starting point in the birth of a new imperial style.
The most characteristic widely known building of this period can be easily called the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which stands in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, on the Place de l'Etoile (it is also Charles de Gaulle Square).
This arch was built from 1806 to 1836 and was designed to exalt the victories of the Great Army of Napoleon. Its author was one of the founders of the Empire style, the architect Jean Shalgren.
The Arch of Triumph, made in the antique style, has impressive dimensions: height 49.51 m, width 44.82 m, height of the arch 29.19 m. In the corners above the arched opening there are bas-reliefs of the work of sculptor Jean Jacques Pradyet depicting fanfare is an allegory of glory.
A hundred granite bollards, connected by heavy cast-iron chains, symbolize the hundred days of Napoleon’s rule. Closer to get acquainted with the historical period in which the arch was built, as well as with the course of its construction and the history of the building is possible in a small museum located inside.
Another characteristic monument of the French imperial style is the Vendome Memorial Column, located on Place Vendome. Architects J. Leper and J. Honduin created in the image of the column of Trajan in Rome. The column is designed to perpetuate the victoriesNapoleon’s army in the campaign of 1805. The material for the construction of the column was the metal of hundreds of cannons captured from the enemy - the Russian and Austrian armies.
Among the many architects who embodied the greatness of the Napoleonic empire in architecture, the main ones are two representatives of the Empire style, Charles Persier and Pierre Fontaine.It was they who in 1812 published the “bible of the new style” - the work “Collection of sketches for interior decoration and all types of furnishings”. These masters almost did not build the building, devoting themselves to interior design, but they also rebuilt Malmaison (the residence of Napoleon), and also expanded the Louvre.
Being an expression of Napoleon's imperial ambitions, the Empire style was artificially implanted on the cultural soil of each of the countries that capitulated to the French emperor. It is noteworthy that in none of the states defeated by Napoleon, too pompous and heavy Empire did not catch on. Moreover, for example, in Germany and Austria, in contrast to him, a new style was created - Biedermeier (translated from GermanBiedermeans "simple-minded, philistine," but in general the name of the style can be translated as "simple-minded Mr. Mayer"). And although he partially borrowed empire forms and ornaments, he still wore an emphatically cozy, homely, private character.
The only country that did not bow to the imperial power of Napoleonic France, but with joy "dressed" in the empire shape and color, was the Russian Empire.This process could be considered as “cultural capitulation” if not for the internal processes in the state itself: it was at this time that Russia was becoming a strong empire, ready to compete in power with leading European states of the beginning of the century. And, of course, the country required the appropriate appearance of its ambitions. The Empire style, which was a little rethought and adapted to the Russian reality, was the best suited for this.
The process of mastering the Empire style on Russian soil began even before the war of 1812. It was then, with the permission of his emperor, that architects Persier and Fontaine handed over albums to the Russian sovereign Alexander, illustrated with views of the “wonderful things that were built in Paris.” They became the basis for the birth of a special, Russian Empire. And Auguste Montferrand, an architect who was invited by Alexander to the Russian service immediately after the end of the Patriotic War, became the embodiment of this style of ideas. By the way, the emperor preferred the little-known masters at the beginning of the century to the founders of the Empire style, Persia and Fontaine, who, after the defeat of France, very much wanted to serve the Russian throne.
The Empire style did not exist for long, in the middle of the century it was replaced by various eclectic currents, which became a sign of the end of the classical era.