Napoleon, a man with ambitions to conquer the world, was not known for his small designs. The architecture that he favored, on view in a massive new monograph, shared his grand self-confidence and fascination with a mythologized imperial past.
The French architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, the official architects of Napoleon, introduced a neoclassical style informed by an archaeological approach to the Greco-Roman urban past to the 19th-century French architectural landscape. Their tremendous output has been collected in the new monograph The Complete Works of Percier and Fontaine, now available through Princeton Architectural Press. The substantial and definitive tome pulls together four separate volumes, reproducing the pair’s entire written output along with numerous extravagant illustrations. While a full appreciation of the monograph text requires reading knowledge of French, their vibrant images offer universal appeal.