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In progress.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Off to Paris

I'm leaving the country in a couple of hours, first to Paris where my main chosen sight to see, unless I visit where the 1890s bombs were chucked, will be the Vendome Column.

The Vendome Column - 44 metres high - is comprised of a stone core, encased in the bronze of 1250 cannons captured at the Battle of Austerliz (1805). It was designed by Denon, Gondouin, and Lepère and modeled in the style of Trajan's Column in Rome. It was constructed during 1806 - 1810.

Originally a statue of Napoléon a Caesar was placed on top. This was replaced by a likeness of Henri IV which was removed during the 100 Day (1815) when Napoléon returned from Elba and attempted to regain power. Afterwards Louis XVIII installed an enormous fleur-de-lys, but Louis-Philippe restored Napoléon in military uniform.

During the Commune in 1871, a group of Communards lead by Gustave Courbet the artist, tore down the column. Rather than pay for its re-erection, as he was ordered, Courbet died (1877) in exile in Switzerland. During 1873 - 1874, the column was reestablished at the center of Place Vendôme with a copy of the original statue on top.

Courbet was a devoted fan of Proudhon, and I liked reading his reasons for why he wanted to pull it down.

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