Conservation treatment on the Arc de triomphe du Carrousel
Posted on 5 October 2023
The conservation treatment of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, funded by the 2018 'Become a Patron!' campaign,began in November 2022 and will be completed before the summer of 2024. This restoration aims to return the monument to its former glory.
A monument to honour the Grande Armée
Commissioned by Napoleon from architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine as a tribute to his armies, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was built from 1806 to 1810. It served as the grand entrance to the Tuileries palace. Inspired by the arches of Constantine and Septimus Severus in Rome, it features three arches adorned with sculpted reliefs depicting episodes from the 1805 campaigns in Germany and Austria. The decorative programme was conceived by Dominique Vivant Denon, the first director of the Louvre. Each relief was created by a different sculptor, based on designs provided by painter Charles Meynier. Similarly, the eight statues of Grande Armée soldiers that adorn the attic were created by various sculptors.
An essential conservation
The last restoration campaign for the monument was over eighty years ago. Since then, it has suffered significant erosion, weakening its structure and rendering its decoration less discernible. The gilded lead figures of Fame and the bronze quadriga have open fissures. The marble bas-reliefs have shattered due to the oxidation of their fastenings. The griotte (red) marble plaques are at risk of coming detached, and the grognards (veteran soldiers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard) are dirty, heavily eroded, and have significant flaws.
The conservation treatment will consolidate the structure by addressing masonry waterproofing and reinforcing ironwork. Cleaning the surfaces and ornaments, as well as restoring the sculpted elements, will make it more legible.
If you wish to learn more about the conservation treatment on the Arc de triomphe du Carrousel, you can watch more videos on Louvre +