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Boullée, Etienne Louis

Boullée, Cénotaphe à Newton (1784)

Etienne Louis Boullée is a French architect born in Paris (1728-1799 AD), author of visionary projects.

Along with Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, he was one of the leading figures of neoclassical architecture in France. He designed dream buildings combining Enlightenment philosophy, a love of geometry and a gigantic scale. A good example of his own style can be found in his design for a cenotaph for Isaac Newton, which would have taken the form of a sphere 150 metres in diameter, set on a circular base crowned with cypress trees. The design was never realized, but it was engraved and circulated widely in professional circles.

Étienne-Louis Boullée: Cenotaph project for Isaac Newton, elevation view, 1784.


He probably had his own Passage, for Robick knew of him, and even found his work a source of inspiration 1).

Original drawing for the preface of the first edition and signed “E. Robick”, plate no. 3 Graphite on paper 29,3 X 21,2 cm 1985