Monument to the Republic
Record: 9.50 m
The Place de la République (formerly known as the Place du Château d'Eau) is a square in Paris, located on the border between the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. The square has an area of 3.4 ha (8.4 acres). It is named after the French Republic, was called the Place du Château-d'Eau until 1879, and contains a monument which includes a statue of the personification of France, Marianne.
The Métro station of République lies beneath the square.
History and architecture
The square was originally called the Place du Château d'Eau, named after a huge fountain designed by Pierre-Simon Girard and built on the site in 1811. Émile de La Bédollière wrote that the water came from la Villette and that the fountain was "superb" in character. In 1867, Gabriel Davioud built a more impressive fountain in the square, which (like the first fountain) was decorated with lions. The square took its current shape as part of Baron Hausmann's vast renovation of Paris. Haussmann also built new barracks on the cities, to garrison troops useful in times of civil unrest.
At the center of the Place de la République is a 31 feet (9.4 m) bronze statue of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic, "holding aloft an olive branch in her right hand and resting her left on a tablet engraved with Droits de l'homme (the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen)."The statue sits atop a monument which is 75 feet (23 m) high. Marianne is surrounded with three statues personifying liberty, equality, and fraternity, the values of the French Republic. These statues also evoke the three medieval theological virtues. Also at the base is a lion guarding a depiction of a ballot box. The monument has been described as "an ordinary one, acceptable to a committee in the 1880s and inoffensively unarresting today."
The monument was created by the brothers Charles and Léopold Morice. Leopold executed the sculptural segments, while Charles executed the architectural segments. The monument was chosen as part of an art competition announced in early 1879 by the Paris City Council, which sought to create a "Monument to the French Republic" in honor of the 90th anniversary of the French Revolution, to be erected on the Place de la République. The Morice statue was chosen by the jury, but a "vociferous minority opinion among jury members claimed precedence for the second prize", the submission of Jules Dalou, who had just returned from exile in England. Dalou's statue, which was completely different in style, impressed the jury so much that it was decided in early 1880 to erect his monument to the Republic on the adjacent Place de la Nation. Two inauguration ceremonies for the Morice monument took place, the first on 14 July 1880 with a gypsum model, and the second on 14 July 1883 with the final version in bronze. The monument replaced the second fountain.