Like Like: Étienne-Louis Boullée

"Cenotafio para Isaac Newton" 1784


Étienne-Louis Boullée (February 12, 1728 – February 4, 1799) was a visionary French neoclassical architect whose work greatly influenced contemporary architects. Boullée promoted the idea of making architecture expressive of its purpose, a doctrine that his detractors termed architecture parlante ("talking architecture"), which was an essential element in Beaux-Arts architectural trainingin the later 19th century. His style was most notably exemplified in his proposal for a cenotaph (empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere) for the English scientist Isaac Newton. The building itself was a 150m (500ft) tall sphere encompassed by two large barriers circled by hundreds of cypress trees. Though the structure was never built, its design was engraved and circulated widely in professional circles. Boullee's Cenotaph for Isaac Newton is a funerary monument celebrating a figure interred elsewhere. The small sarcophagus for Newton is placed at the lower pole of the sphere. The design of the memorial creates the effect of day and night. The night effect occurs when the sarcophagus is illuminated by the sunlight coming through the holes in the vaulting. This gives the illusion of stars in the night sky. The day effect is an armillary sphere hanging in the center that gives off a mysterious glow."

17 / 03 / 2015