Historic Paris

The city of Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC. The Roman conquered the Parisii, a Celtic tribe living on the “Ile de la cite,” where Paris, then named Lutetia, was build. After being converted to Christianity by the Roman during the late part of the third century, the Franks captured Paris in 486. After a brief encounter with Vikings, Paris started to flourish during the 11th century to become one of the largest middle age city in Europe. The Louvre and the first city wall was built around 1180-1223 by king Philippe-Auguste. The cathedral “Notre Dame de Paris” was built around the 12th century. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Paris was affected by the black plague and the Hundred Years War with England but then flourished again until the 16th century, where the Reformation (the persecution of protestants) swept France. In the 1600’s, King Henry IV began building great public buildings throughout Paris. The construction of great buildings continued under Louis XIV. After the French revolution (1789) and the great terror (1793), many churches were vandalized. Construction of big building continued with Napoleon Bonaparte (after 1799) and the “Arc de Triumph” was build around that time. The next building revolution occurred during the reign of Napoleon III, when the Baron Haussmann demolished most of Paris to build new streets. Paris was then booming economically and its population grew greatly. During the French-Prussian war (about 1870), Paris was occupied but Parisian revolted in 1871 and “La commune” governed briefly until the French government sent troops and took the city over. Paris soon recovered and prospered in the late 19th century with the construction of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 and the opening of the Metro in 1900. After the first and second World Wars and Paris’ liberation, students riots took over Paris in 1968 but once stability returned, during the late 20th century, new buildings were constructed such as the “Tour Montparnasse (1973), Hotel Concorde Lafayette (1974), centre Pompidou (1977) and more. In this piece, I painted with acrylics the “Arc de Triumph” as a symbol of “Historic Paris” as well as its surrounding trees but glued images of various well known Parisian monument icons throughout its walls. Collages of various people (from famous paintings of the “Arc de Triumph”) and cars of various centuries were then added to remind us about the timeliness of monuments and how they survive history somehow. This is an homage to the great city of Paris and its history, so much surrounded by wars but also beauty and hope.