Interior Elevation of Reims Cathedral with a Statue of King Louis II

Charles Percier French
Pierre François Léonard Fontaine French

Not on view

This sheet shows an elevation of part of the interior of Reims Cathedral with a statue of King Louis II. This design represents one of six drawings that form the only documentation of the plans for the coronation of King Louis XVIII, which never took place. The event was likely delayed, and eventually dismissed due to the precarious state of the French monarchy and the declining health of the King. In addition, the idea of a Royal coronation, bestowed by the French Catholic Church had become a point of contention after the fall of the first monarchy and the Emperor Napoleon’s decision to crown himself. For these reasons, King Louis XVIII’s successor, Charles X, opted not to have a coronation in Reims when he ascended the throne in 1824. Some of the concerns for how the coronation would be perceived can be noted in the decoration scheme that was devised by Percier and Fontaine. The architect duo had also been the official designers for the coronation of Emperor Napoleon. To mark the distinction, in their designs for Reims Cathedral, they veered away from the vocabulary of the Empire Style, and instead worked in a style known as Palladian Gothic. In addition, they incorporated references to the historic legitimacy of the Bourbon dynasty throughout their decoration scheme.

Interior Elevation of Reims Cathedral with a Statue of King Louis II, Charles Percier (French, Paris 1764–1838 Paris), Pen and black ink, watercolor

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