The next revised guides to the artworks in Père-Lachaise, Montmartre and Montparnasse cemeteries will be available this coming autumn so stay tuned!
Marie Beleyme's latest article on her blog focusing on the early history of Père-Lachaise Cemetery examines C. P. Arnaud's lovely 1816 map of the earliest burials. She's created a wonderful interactive feature using Arnaud's map that provides popup photos of each gravesite.
You can learn more right here (and work on your French at the same time) - or copy and paste the link:
For you out there with a singular affection for the early history of burials in Père-Lachaise, Marie Beleyme has just posted a wonderful short essay on the origin of the small street in the cemetery, Chemin de la Guerite.
The 2017 edition of my guide to the artwork in Père-Lachaise is now available. You can find it right here.
If you have an older edition I'll send you the new edition free of charge -- just tear off the cover and send it to:
PO Box 150044
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49515
Be sure to include your mailing address, si vous plait!
Antoine-André Ravrio (1759–1814). French sculptor, poet, and vaudevillist.
Bust by Joseph-Antoine Romagnesi. In 1821:
Pierre Gareau (1766–1815). French merchant. Gareau’s was the first statue erected in Père-Lachaise and is one of the few of the earliest monuments still standing in the cemetery. La Douleur is quite possibly a representation of his widow. Sculptor: François-Dominique Milhomme (1). In 1832:
Dominique Vivant, baron Denon (1747–1825). French artist, diplomat, and archeologist. Napoleon appointed him the first director of the Louvre Museum. Statue (1826) of Denon, which seems to have caught him in mid-thought. Sculptor: Pierre Cartellier (53). In 1832:
Hippolyte-Victor Collet-Descotils (1773-1816), French engineer. In 1832:
François-Thomas Baculard d’Arnaud (1718-1805), French writer. In 1821:
Étienne Robertson (Étienne-Gaspard Robert, 1764–1837), Belgian stage magician and early exploiter of the phantasmagoria. A professor of physics in his native Liège, Robert was better known by his stage name, Étienne Robertson. In 1784, he gave an exhibition of an improved magic lantern, the phantasmagoria. He was also a serious balloonist.
While the sarcophagus at the tomb of the monument has some interesting skull carvings, the two frieze panels are the most engaging elements of this tomb: on one side is the Last Judgment, while the other depicts what is believed to be the first balloon flight. It is thought that the figure to the far left is American Benjamin Franklin, who did indeed watch the first balloon launch from the Tuilleries Gardens on 1 December 1783. Sculptor: Hardouin.
Louis-Joseph-Ernest Picard (1821–1877), French lawyer and Minister of Finance.
Portrait medallion by Henri Chapu; ornamental decoration by J. Heritier. In 1840:
This monument has changed significantly, as you can see:
Jeanne-Henriette Montaud de Navailles comtesse de Girardin (1770–1818). Wife of Louis. Sculptor of the female bust is unknown. In 1832:
Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), French naturalist and zoologist. In 1840:
Joseph Marie de Chenier (1764-1811). 1821:
Pierre-Auguste Béclard (1785–1825) and his son, Jules-Auguste Béclard (1817–1887), French physicians. Pierre was also professor of anatomy at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris and chief surgeon at the hôpital de la Pitié. Sculptor: Théophile-François-Marcel Bra (Pierre’s bust) and Gustave Crauk (Jules’s bust). In 1832, when Quaglia sketched the tomb, only Pierre's bust was up (obviously) but note the pedestal transcription was somewhat different from what is there today:
You know the story: boy meets girl, boy gets girl pregnant, girl's rich uncle arranges for boy to be castrated, boy becomes famous philosopher and teacher, girl becomes abbess, they are united at long last in death.
This tomb, constructed from stones, rescued by the indomitable Alexandre Lenoir, stones that once made up the abbey where Heloïse was abbess and where Abelard reportedly died is one of the most striking examples of gothic funereal architecture in the cemetery. It has also been one of the most visited, painted, sketched and written about gravesites in Paris.
Jacob Roblès (1782–1842). Le Silence is a figure, possibly a woman, with a veil over her head, touching her lips with her right index finger. Sculptor: Auguste Préault (49). Print by Touillon (1893):
Antoine-Joseph Reicha (1770–1836). Czech music composer and professor of music. Relief with a bust of Reicha in the top center; a winged cherub plays the lyre to his right and to his left Euterpe, Muse of Music, holds two flutes, one in each hand, and turns to look at Reicha.
Sculptor: Dominique Molchneth. Print c. 1937:
. . . and today, before cleaning:
Abraham Diaz-Carvalho (1796–1814). Relief by Pierre-Alphonse Fessard. Print c. 1821:
. . . and today:
French physician and politician. He was killed on the barricades in Paris while opposing the coup of Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. He was buried in secret at Montmartre and in 1872 the present monument, crafted by Aimé Millet (division 22). Monument c. 1900: