Two Neoclassical Monuments in Modern France: The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe


in Cultures of Commemoration

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780197264669
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753985 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Two Neoclassical Monuments in Modern France: The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe

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The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe are two neoclassical Parisian monuments that were created in the second half of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, respectively, and which have ever since been main sites of French official memory. However, they never had the same share of the stage: when one was prominent, the other was marginal, and vice versa. This chapter delineates the parallel histories of these monuments and analyses the relationship between them, from the French Revolution to the Fifth Republic. Although they are usually ascribed to different political camps – the Pantheon to the left and the Arc de Triomphe to the right – a close reading of the context of various commemorative acts that were performed inside and around these monuments shows that their identity was more complex.

Keywords: Panthéon; Arc de Triomphe; French Revolution; Paris; commemorative rituals; state ceremonies

Chapter.  9960 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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