Interpretive Essay: Architecture, Essay on Art

In his “Architecture, Essay on Art” (ca. 1781-93), Etienne-Louis Boullée wrote:
I was in the country, on the edge of a wood in the moonlight. My shadow produced by the light caught my eye (it was certainly nothing new to me). Because of my particular mood, the image seemed to me of an extreme melancholy. The shadows of the trees etched on the ground made a most profound impression on me. My imagination exaggerated the scene, and thus I had a glimpse of all that is most sombre in nature. What did I see there? The mass of objects stood out in black against the extreme wanness of the light. Nature offered itself to my gaze in mourning. I was struck by the sensations I was experiencing and immediately began to wonder how to apply this, especially to architecture. I tried to find a composition made up of the effect of shadows. To achieve this, I imagined the light (as I had observed in nature) giving back to me all that my imagination could think of. That was how I proceeded when I was seeking to discover this new type of architecture.
Discuss Boullée’s theory of architecture with reference to the ideal projects he produced in the 1780s. As you write your essay, consider the following questions: How did Boullée define architecture? What did he try to achieve with his projects? What kind of ideas, moods, or emotions would his architecture evoke? What new aesthetic experiences was he trying to conjure? Can his projects be called revolutionary? Utopian? How would you discuss Boullée’s work in relation to the Enlightenment?

**The PDF attached is the only resource for this essay**
It should be based on that text and Architecture in the Age of Reason France

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