Monday, February 22, 2010


Garden folly in pyramid shape on the grounds of the
château de Mauperthuis, painted by Jean Claude Châtelet in the 1770s shortly after it was erected (and given a false patina of age) according to the instructions of the marquis Anne-Pierre de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1739-1798). This would prove to be one of the final aristocratic whims carried to completion before the long interruption of the French Revolution.

The pyramid still exists today, but the reflecting pool has disappeared, along with the rustic bridge (surmounted by incongruous marble statues) and the bright-cloaked visitors (lifted from Poussin). In the 18th century Mauperthuis was a pretend-ruin. In the 21st century the ruin has paradoxically become genuine, as we see below – nothing better than a storage shed for car parts and plastic furniture.

Still, from a distance it remains picturesque.

Image source is here.