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Viollet Le Duc: The Latest Architecture and News

Uncovering Viollet-le-Duc's "Unexpected" Career

00:00 - 2 December, 2014
Half of a rhombohedron. Remains of a crystal system separating the glacier of Envers Blaitière Vallée Blanche (Viollet-le-Duc). Image © Médiathèque de l’architecture & du patrimoine
Half of a rhombohedron. Remains of a crystal system separating the glacier of Envers Blaitière Vallée Blanche (Viollet-le-Duc). Image © Médiathèque de l’architecture & du patrimoine

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the French architect most famous for the 'restoration' of Notre-Dame de Paris, is a person we unequivocally associate with 19th century Gothic Revival. Although there is no doubt that his interpretive restorations of medieval French monuments were some of his greatest achievements, a new exhibition at Paris' Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine seeks to uncover a "well-connected character who pursued an uninterrupted career drawing, building, teaching, restoring, and many other things."

In a review for Domus, Léa-Catherine Szacka examines this first major retrospective dedicated to the designer, theorist and artist since 1980 in celebration of the bicentennial of his birth. According to Szacka curator Jean-Michel Leniaud has, in this exhibition, shifted focus to Viollet-le-Duc's artistic output, thereby presenting "the less known and the more unexpected aspect" of his career.