18 November 2011

The Molière Fountain (Fontaine Molière, 2nd arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #27

The fountain at the junction of rue Richelieu with rue Molière was in fact known as Richelieu's until 1838, but was destroyed as it was encumbering traffic. Joseph Régnier of the Comédie-Française (the national theatre) proposed that a newer, more recessed fountain ­— but of Molière (whose house used to be at number 40 rue Richelieu) rather than Richelieu ­— replace the first one.

It was built in 1838 by several sculptors under the direction of the architect Louis Tullius Joachim Visconti, who also designed the fountain in place Saint-Sulpice.

The statue of Molière himself is in bronze by Bernard-Gabriel Seure.

The two female figures, in marble, are said to represent serious and light theatre.

The woman on the right here, with her rather stern expression, must be the serious one.
And the woman on the left, with her rather revealing gear, must be the light one.

I'm not too sure the plays named on the scrolls they're holding marry up neatly in any such way at all, in fact I'd often say the reverse, but then maybe that's the idea, and anyway can Molière's writing be binarized in such a fashion? I don't think so.

Jean-Jacques Pradier made the figures, and I'm reminded of François Weyergans's Goncourt-winning novel Trois jours chez ma mère, of the fleeting bit where the narrator writer François Weyergraf mentions speaking to Delphine, in relation to the muses, of Baudelaire's hatred for Pradier. I digress. A wonderful piece of art, though.

And just along the road a little, a plaque at 61 rue de Richelieu states that Stendhal lived here from 1822 to 1823, and that at number 69 he wrote Les Promenades Dans Rome (lit. Walks in Rome) and Le Rouge Et Le Noir (The Red and the White).

Below is a link to a post I made on Molière's birthplace:

Molière's two birthplaces

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