Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris (Sculpture Ornementale)

Louis-Emile Durandelle French

Not on view

Among the most lavish Second Empire monuments was the Paris Opéra, designed by Charles Garnier. Elaborately decorated in a neo-Baroque style and devoting as much space and luxe to grand ceremonial arcades, foyers, and staircases as to the theater hall proper, Garnier's design was selected in 1860 from among 171 entries and, once built, served as a model for many late-nineteenth-century theaters around the world. Construction of this elaborate confection required the clearing of some three acres and lasted until January 1875-more than four years after the fall of Napoleon III.

Along with countless construction workers, masons, and artisans, some sixty-five sculptors worked on the statuary and ornamentation of the Opéra. In this photograph, stone carvers two hundred feet above the street chip away at the enormous garlands of fruit that formed the decorative freize on the sides of the fly tower.

Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris (Sculpture Ornementale), Louis-Emile Durandelle (French, 1839–1917), Albumen silver print from glass negative

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.