A Roman temple in France - a Capitol building in Virginia
- Posted May 20, 2012 by Jay Viewed 1071 times
I saw the beautiful posting of the Maison Carrée by Idalmau from yesterday, and I was struck by its beauty. However, there is more to the story than that!
In the second half of the 18th century, the first American ambassador to France, a man known by the name of Mr. Thomas Jefferson, took a tour of the beautiful country in which he was to serve the young U.S. goverment. On this tour, he went to Nîmes in the south of France, where he came upon a beautiful temple known as the Maison Carrée. It dates back to Roman times.
Mr. Jefferson, born in Virginia, author of the United States Declaration of Independence, later to be one of the first governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and then third president of the United States, liked the temple so much that he commissioned a model to be made and sent back to RIchmond, the new capital of Virginia.
He instructed that this model be used to construct the new capitol building in Richmond (where I was born). The former royal capital of Williamsburg was too far to the east.
The building was completed in 1788 and has been the seat of Virginia's state government since that time. Every school child in Virginia knows the origins of our capitol building of which we are most proud. The original model that Mr. Jefferson sent from France in the 1780s can still be seen on display in the capitol building even today.
On a design note: the original structure in France has Corinthian columns, whereas the Virginia capital has Ionic columns. Of course, the capitol building required windows which the Maison Carrée does not have.
From France to Virginia
La Maison Carrée - (Ildamau) [photoblog.com]
(Some of these photos have been posted before)
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