The Surreal Monumental Cenotaphs of Boullée


Take a guess when these images were created?  Looks like the typical surreal digital art that people are producing these days? Right?

Wrong!

These images were created by the architect Étienne-Louis Boullée who was born February 12, 1728. He was a master of neoclassical architecture, studying in Paris and later going on to become Frederick II’s architect.  Below are some of the cenotaphs that he created, many of which were never actually built for obvious reasons.  If you’re wondering what a cenotaph is, it’s a monumental tomb that may or may not house remains.  It’s mostly for looks, apparently.

 

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Funerary monument for Isaac Newton that was never built. It was a proposed 500ft tall sphere circled by hundreds of cypress trees, with Newton's sarcophagus at the bottom of the sphere on the inside.

Funerary monument for Isaac Newton that was never built. It was a proposed 500ft tall sphere circled by hundreds of cypress trees, with Newton’s sarcophagus at the bottom of the sphere on the inside.

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This one looks a bit like a Stargate if you ask me. It’s a cross section of the Newton monument showing the proposed inside of the sphere.

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I find it interesting that these images are striking and appealing to our modern sensibility and design aesthetic.  If you want to learn more about Étienne-Louis Boullée, check out the wikipedia entry here.

 

 

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