Musée d'Orsay: Maurice Boutterin Constantine's Arch in Rome

Maurice Boutterin
Constantine's Arch in Rome

Constantine's Arch in Rome
Maurice Boutterin (1882-1970)
Constantine's Arch in Rome
Pencil, ink, watercolour
H. 85; W. 110 cm
© DR / RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Arc de Constantin à Rome [Constantine's Arch in Rome]

In 1912 at the Villa Medici, the submission for the second year architecture students was to be the "current state of all or part of an ancient monument in Italy or Sicily [...]". Like many of his fellow students, Maurice Boutterin turned to the classical monuments of Rome and chose Constantine's Arch, dating from the 4th century AD. He therefore sent to Paris a "large elevation of the triumphal arch, viewed from the north side, with the green spaces surrounding it".

The presence of these "green spaces" gave the drawing a picturesque appearance, typical of the submissions in the first decade of the 20th century. At that time, the jury of the Académie des Beaux-Arts was more inclined to accept less academic submissions. Furthermore, the young architects themselves wanted to assert the artistic nature of this archaeological work.
For this same submission, Boutterin went further, and took even more liberties including a "fantasy" piece, showing Constantine's Arch at an angle, still in a natural environment, but this time surmounted by the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, and surrounded by classical fragments.

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