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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

Perspective of the town of Chaux

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

Perspective of the town of Chaux - Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

48cm X 40cm
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
© BnF

View this work in the exhibition Babel to Dubai: Urban Utopias

The artist

Much of the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux's fame stems from the success of his collection Architecture considered in relation to art, morals and legislation, the first volume of which was published in 1804. The amazing engravings featured in the work reveal a visionary approach to architecture, showing very clean, neo-classical designs. Ledoux's work was often described as architecture parlante (speaking architecture), reflected in his phallic plans for the Oikema brothel.

However, many overlook the fact that Ledoux, born in 1736, was first and foremost a successful architect. After classical studies, he led a brilliant career in the late 18th century in the service of a wealthy client, the famed Madame du Barry. He also worked on public projects, such as the Besançon Theatre and the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans. Just before the Revolution broke out, he oversaw work in Paris to build the Wall of the Farmers-General. Beaumarchais wrote that "the wall walling Paris renders Paris grumbling," reflecting the great hostility provoked by the project. Disgraced in 1789, Ledoux was imprisoned during the Revolution and forced into retirement during the Directoire. He died in 1806.