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Jacques Germain Soufflot

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Biography Jacques Germain Soufflot

(b. Irancy, Auxerre 1713; d. Paris 1780)

Jacques Germain Soufflot was born in Irancy, Auxerre in 1713. He attended the French Academy in Rome from c. 1731 to 1738 where he studied a Romantic style of architecture based on the monumental architecture of Rome. After returning to France, Soufflot practiced in Lyon and joined the Lyon Academy.

Soufflot returned to Italy in 1750 in the company of the future Marquis de Marigny. On this trip he made a special study of theaters. In 1755 Marigny, the new Director General of Royal Buildings, gave him architectural control of all royal buildings in Paris. In the same year, he was admitted to the Academie Royal de l'Architecture.

Soufflot considered classical rules essential for architectural progress. Utilizing classic principles he used a 'strictness of line, firmness of form, simplicity of contour, and rigorously architectonic conception of detail' which contrasted sharply with the architecture of his contemporaries.

Soufflot showed an unusual interest in Gothic architecture at a time when most architects considered Gothic architecture barbaric. In his architecture he tried to unite the lightness of Gothic construction with the purity and order of Greek forms. His works predicted the eclecticism that would mark mainstream Neoclassicism.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p145.

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