The exhibition examines the important role the Pantheon played in French artistic and political life from its foundation in 1744 well into the twentieth century. Coinciding with the international celebrations of the bicentennial of the French Revolution, the exhibition focuses on one of the central architectural episodes of the Revolution—the transformation of Saint Genevieve—J.-G. Soufflot’s controversial votive church, into the secular Pantheon of French national heroes.
The symbolic life of this public edifice is as much the subject of the exhibition as its design history. Newly-discovered material about the building’s construction and the debates that centred on its design and structure are combined with a focus on the shifting symbolic aims and political agendas of the actors who shape buildings and a country’s political self-image over time. The exhibition presents over three hundred objects, many from the collection of the CCA.
Curated by Barry Bergdoll, Columbia University. Exhibition design by Craig Laberge, National Gallery of Canada. Co-organized with the Caisse national des monuments historiques et des sites de France.