Full text: Beauties of continental architecture

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This magnificent edifice was erected under the reign of Louis XV. in the 
year 1764, in the room of the ancient dilapidated church of St. Geneviève, the 
patron saint of the city of Paris. It is greatly admired as one of the principal 
ornaments of Paris. The architect under whose direction it was built was 
Soufflot, who had studied in Italy. The plan which he gave for this new church 
was so greatly and generally admired, that it caused the ancient style of archi 
tecture, which had till then prevailed at Paris, to be wholly abandoned. The total 
height of the edifice is about 300 French feet, its length 350 feet, and its breadth 
250 feet. The dome, by which it is surmounted, is supported on pillars of such 
extreme lightness, that they are hardly remarked among the great isolated columns, 
which compose the four naves of the cross. 
But the lightness of this architecture was purchased at the expense of solidity. 
Numerous cracks appeared in the pillars which support the dome. When this 
discovery was made, the enthusiasm of the public was greatly abated. Happily 
the damage was not irreparable ; and the celebrated Architect Rondelet, undertook 
to remedy it. He accomplished the object with great success ; but he was obliged 
to sacrifice a part of the beauty of the original design. 
During the Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that this church 
should be destined, under the name of the Pantheon, to receive the mortal remains 
of the great men of the nation ; and the following inscription was placed on the 
The Church was afterwards, by a decree of Napoleon, restored to its original 
destination, and the inscription was eifaced ; but with the reserve, that it should be 
exclusively appropriated to remarkable persons, and such as should have performed 
great services. The French Chambers, since the expulsion of Charles X. have 
restored to the Building the name of The Pantheon, and caused the inscription to 
be replaced.

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